Landowners looking to enroll acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program have until Feb. 12 to sign up for the program.
General sign up for CRP began Monday.
Currently, CRP is at 21.9 million acres, the lowest level since 1987 even though the 2018 farm bill boosted the acreage cap on CRP from 24 million acres to 27 million acres.
Sign up last year brought in 3.4 million acres to the program, but 5.4 million acres of ground expired last October as well.
According to the latest USDA fact sheet on enrollment, eligible land must have one of three criteria: Have a weighted average erosion index of eight or higher; be expiring CRP acres; or be located in a national or state CRP conservation priority area.
While the last farm bill increased acreage for the program, it also lowered rental rates to 85% of the average dryland cash rental rate for the county.
In November, a coalition of wildlife and conservation groups called on the incoming Biden administration to change the way CRP is being administered to boost acreage in the program. Among some of the proposals are recommendations to restore soil productivity as an adjusting factor in rental-rate calculations; increasing practice incentives that were greatly reduced in recent years; re-establishing a cost-share for mid-contract management practices; and accelerating the roll out of forest management incentives that have been delayed.
Starting March 15, USDA also will begin enrollment in the CRP Grasslands program, which focuses on rangeland and pastureland.
Landowners are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency offices for more details on CRP enrollment.
USDA CRP factsheet: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/…
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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