The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is conducting a general signup for the longstanding Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from December 1, 2015, through February 26, 2016. The general signup overlaps with CRP’s 30th
anniversary, celebrating the most successful private lands conservation program in the country. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are hosting CRP meetings and providing enrollment assistance for landowners interested in the general signup, the first general enrollment opportunity available since 2013.
“The general CRP signup is a boon for upland wildlife populations and continues to be a popular voluntary option for farmers, ranchers, and landowners looking to address conservation needs. CRP reduces soil erosion, improves water quality, and benefits wildlife, in addition to providing landowner income for low-production crop acres,” stated Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s director of governmental affairs. “The best way to celebrate the 30th
anniversary of CRP would be to fulfill the nation’s 24 million acre cap during the general signup - we anticipate high demand for the program and encourage landowners to visit with their local USDA service center
or Farm Bill biologist
for further options regarding CRP."
Created in the 1985 Farm Bill, CRP officially celebrates its 30th
anniversary this month (it was signed into law by President Ronald Regan on December 23, 1985). The program reached peak enrollment in 2007 with 36.8 million acres; high commodity prices in recent years provided economic incentive for producers to allow their CRP contracts to expire and put the ground back into crop production. In response, Congress lowered the cap on the program in the 2014 Farm Bill to 24 million acres. More recent record harvests and a decrease in demand have driven current crop prices lower, likely resulting in increased interest in CRP. Water quality issues in rural America and declines in high-profile species like bees and monarch butterflies have also spurred renewed interest from landowners in conservation programs.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, along with other state wildlife partners, currently employ more than 100 Farm Bill biologists in 19 states throughout the country to assist landowners with general CRP signup enrollments – landowners are encouraged to contact their nearest Farm Bill biologist today.
About Pheasants Forever
, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever
, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $577 million on 489,000 habitat projects benefiting 12 million acres nationwide.