Benefitting farmers, ranchers, landowners, and natural resources throughout the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA- FSA) today announced a general signup for the longstanding Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from December 9, 2019, through February 28, 2020. This will be the first general enrollment accorded since 2016 and will represent one of the largest program acreages ever offered to landowners in the United States. Landowners should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to learn more about general CRP eligibility.
“CRP signups heading into 2020 represent significant opportunities for landowners, wildlife, economic development in rural communities and the nation’s most pressing conservation needs,” stated Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s director of governmental affairs. “Featuring new acreage allotments for each state and a variety of conservation practices, Conservation Reserve Program signups in 2020 and beyond will allow producers to target difficult to farm acres of low productivity which will ultimately provide wildlife habitat, create long term soil health and improve water quality, while maintaining productive agriculture on the best crop acres.”
Wildlife populations and rural communities have been supported by the Conservation Reserve Program since the mid-1980’s when 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. With the CRP cap raised to 27 million acres in the 2018 Farm Bill and millions of acres set to expire, there is a significant opportunity for enrollment of over 8 million acres over the next year. In fact, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue stated today in a press release that, “the [CRP] program marks its 35-year anniversary in 2020, and we’re hoping to see one of our largest signups in many years.”
“This signup creates an opportunity for CRP to continue supporting upland gamebird populations, healthy agricultural landscapes, and thus strengthening our nation’s treasured hunting heritage,” added Jim Inglis. “We remain thankful to the farmers, ranchers and landowners who take the time to implement high-quality conservation practices through CRP and we hope to utilize our 37-year history of helping USDA assist landowners to achieve their land use goals during this historic signup period.”
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, along with 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
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 130,000 members and 740 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $867 million on 540,000 habitat projects benefiting 18 million acres nationwide.
Photo Credit: Julie Peterson, Pheasants Forever