Landowners encouraged to submit applications citing higher payment rates and other incentives.
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA- FSA) announced a general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) running from January 31st – March 11th, 2022, and a Grassland CRP signup from April 4th – May 13th. CRP has long been the nation’s most important tool for targeting environmentally sensitive lands with conservation practices that produce wildlife habitat, cleaner waters, healthier soils, and a more resilient climate. Landowners should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to learn more about general CRP eligibility.
“At a time when the country is looking for opportunities to improve the environmental and economic health of our nation, CRP once again shines as a tool for American farmers, ranchers, and landowners,” stated Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s director of governmental affairs. “CRP enables producers to enroll difficult-to-farm acres in the program to improve soil health, water quality, climate resiliency and wildlife habitat, and is a key part of the ecological and economic safety net for rural communities.”
The Conservation Reserve Program has supported wildlife populations and rural communities since President Ronald Reagan signed CRP into law on December 23, 1985. The program reached peak enrollment in 2007 with 36.8 million acres, corresponding with modern-day highs for upland bird harvest in many Midwestern states. Producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP signups in 2021, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP signup in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled with a 25.5-million-acre cap set for fiscal year 2022. Additionally, producers and landowners can enroll acres under the Continuous signup, including through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.
“We highly encourage farmers, ranchers and private landowners to consider the enrollment options available through CRP,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. “Last year, we rolled out a better, bolder program, and we highly encourage you to consider its higher payment rates and other incentives. CRP is another way that we’re putting producers and landowners at the center of climate-smart solutions that generate revenue and benefit our planet.”
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, along with the USDA-NRCS and other state wildlife partners, currently employ partnership biologist positions throughout the country to assist landowners with general CRP signup enrollments – landowners are encouraged to contact their nearest USDA Service Center or local Farm Bill biologist today.