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Hartselle Enquirer

USDA announces dates for conservation reserve program general, grasslands signup

Special to the Enquirer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set a July 23 deadline for agricultural producers and landowners to apply for the Conservation Reserve Program General signup 56.

Additionally, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept applications for CRP Grasslands from July 12 to Aug. 20.

This year, the USDA has updated both signup options to provide greater incentives for producers and increase its conservation benefits, including reducing the impacts of climate change.

Both signups are competitive and will provide for annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“We are excited to roll out our new and improved CRP General and Grasslands signups,” said FSA acting state director E. Nicole Cleggs-Burns. “Bottom line: CRP now makes more financial sense for producers while also providing a bigger return on investment in terms of natural resource benefits. The General and Grasslands signups are part of a broader suite of tools available through CRP to integrate key conservation practices on our nation’s working lands.”

General Signup

Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. According to the FSA, lands enrolled in CRP also play a key role in mitigating impacts from climate change, and FSA has added a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive for practices that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

FSA is also adding a one-time “inflationary” adjustment for payment rates, as well as featuring more flexibility on adjusting soil rental rates.

FSA opened the General signup in January 2021 and extended the original deadline to July 23 to enable producers to consider FSA’s new improvements to the program.

Grasslands Signup

CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands.

According to the FSA, protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and improves environmental quality.

FSA has updated the Grasslands signup to establish a minimum rental rate of $15 per acre, as well as new National Grassland Priority Zones.

How to sign up

To enroll in the CRP General signup, producers and landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center by the July 23 deadline. To enroll in the CRP Grasslands signup, they should contact USDA by the Aug. 20 deadline.

While USDA offices might be limiting visitors because of the pandemic, service center staff members continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email and other digital tools.

To work with FSA, producers and landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center.

Contact information can be found at farmers.gov/service-locator.