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Hartselle Enquirer

Conservation reserve program general sign-up announced

USDA-Farm Service Agency Morgan Executive Director Susan Minor announced a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the Nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States.

“It is USDA’s goal to ensure that we use CRP to address our most critical resource issues,” said Minor. “CRP is an important program for protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP; and we urge interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers.”

CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive sign-up basis.

Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP; and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on Sept. 30, 2012.

Offers for CRP contracts are ranked according to the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) collects data for each of the EBI factors based on the relative environmental benefits for the land offered. Each eligible offer is ranked in comparison to all other offers and selections made from that ranking.

For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA office or online at www.fsa.usda.gov.

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