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USDA announces more than 1.2 million acres accepted in recent sign-up for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands

Published on 09 July 2020

On July 9, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the acceptance of more than 1.2 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands during the recent sign-up period that began March 16 and ended May 15.

The number of acres offered during this sign-up period was 1.9 million acres, over three times the number offered during the last sign-up period in 2016.

Through CRP Grasslands, farmers and ranchers can protect grasslands, rangelands and pastures while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices, such as haying, mowing or harvesting seed from the enrolled land. Timing of some activities may be restricted by the primary nesting season of birds.

“This large and unprecedented enrollment is a reflection of the popularity and importance of CRP Grasslands,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “The program emphasizes support for grazing operations and plant and animal biodiversity while protecting land under the greatest threat of conversion or development.”

Participants will receive an annual rental payment and may receive up to 50% cost-share for establishing approved conservation practices. The duration of the CRP contract is 10 or 15 years. FSA ranked offers using a number of factors, including existence of expiring CRP land, threat of conversion or development, existing grassland, and predominance of native species cover and cost.

The 2018 Farm Bill set aside no fewer than 2 million acres for CRP Grassland enrollment. On Oct. 1, 2020, grassland enrollment is expected to be 2.1 million acres. The CRP is one of the largest conservation programs at the USDA. The CRP marks its 35-year anniversary in 2020 with 21.9 million acres currently enrolled.

For more information on CRP Grasslands, contact your local FSA county office or visit the Conservation Reserve Program website. To locate your local FSA office, visit the service center locator website.  end mark

From a USDA news release