More than two million acres in offers have been accepted through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup. Agricultural producers and landowners made submissions for the latest signup period between January 31 and March 11 of this year. Having accepted a CRP offer, producers are still required to craft a conservation plan before enrolling their land on October 1.
“We recognize the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool in helping mitigate climate change and conserve natural resources, and this announcement is just the first opportunity for producers to take advantage of the program,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “For farmers who have decided to return all or a portion of their land into production agriculture, USDA will also be reaching out to ensure they understand and can take advantage of options to either prepare the land for production or transition it to beginning farmers.”
Re-enrollment submissions were made for more than half of the acres set to expire, comparable to what was seen the year prior. Enrollment of new land under the General CRP was a little more than half of what was offered last year, at less than 400,000 acres. Vilsack is encouraging producers and landowners to sign up for the other conservation programs that are available through CRP.
The signup period for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program will remain open until May 13. Continuous CRP and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program are also available to landowners. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) applauded USDA’s continuing efforts to encourage and incentivize conservation activities.
“NACD is pleased more than 2 million acres have been accepted through CRP and looks forward to USDA continuing its excellent stewardship of this program,” said NACD CEO Jeremy Peters. “CRP plays a key component to conservation, and we are excited to see enrollment options become available to as many eligible producers as possible, particularly those who manage vulnerable lands.”