2010-07-31 / News

Conservation Reserve Program sign-up set

COLUMBUS – The wait is over for farmers and landowners seeking the opportunity to enroll their farmland in the popular Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The agency is encouraging landowners to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) program; CRP general enrollment will run Monday, August 2 through Friday, August 27.

“This is very good news for Ohio’s landowners, wildlife and water quality,” said Luke Miller, wildlife program administrator with the ODNR Division of Wildlife “The last general CRP sign-up occurred in 2006 and enrollment interest is expected to be strong.”

According to Miller, CRP continues to be a good option for producers to ensure income on the tough-to-farm and lowest producing acres. The grass, trees and shrubs that are planted under a CRP contract provide longterm protection to soil and water, and add wildlife habitat to the landscape. In return, landowners receive annual rental payments, which help offset the cost of not raising a crop on those acres.

“The general program’s national acreage allotment is likely to fill up quickly, so it’s critical that landowners visit their local USDA service centers immediately to examine CRP options on their land,” said Miller.

The new CRP general signup arrives in time to address the 4.4 million acres of CRP expiring on September 30, 2010. It is also representative of the USDA’s ongoing action to maximize the wildlife habitat and environmental benefits created during the program’s 25 year history. With an additional 14.2 million acres of CRP slated to expire between 2011 and 2013, this general sign-up is the critical first step in maintaining the 32 million acres acreage cap set through the 2008 Farm Bill.

Because acceptance in the general CRP is a competitive process, the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) provides the scoring mechanism that determines if a farm field will achieve a high enough score to be accepted into the program. The choices that a producer makes when applying can increase his chances of being accepted into the program.

For more information on what wildlife factors can increase scores, contact the Private Lands biologist that covers your county at the nearest Division of Wildlife district office. For a complete listing, please visit www.ohiodnr. com/wildlife.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr. com.

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