Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just in from the FSA

Dates for CRP General Signup Announced

Boise--The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced that general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program will begin on March 14, 2011, and continue through April 15, 2011. During the signup period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general signup at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

“Idaho specific CRP practices include efforts to improve the level of water in the Snake River Aquifer and increased coverage for the Columbian Sharp Tailed Grouse," said Dick Rush of the FSA. "These and other CRP practices bring cleaner water, improved air quality, better habitat for wildlife and a huge reduction in soil erosion for Idaho. Today’s announcement reinforces this administration’s dedication to help farmers and ranchers conserve natural resources on their land. The sign-up period is fairly short. Producers will need to determine if they have land eligible, figure out the best practice for the land and make certain they have all the proper elements so they can obtain a high EBI ranking. I encourage them to make an appointment with their FSA County Office as soon as possible."

Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Idaho has approximately 117,000 expiring CRP acres. Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1, 2011.

To help ensure that interested farmers and ranchers are aware of the signup period, USDA has signed partnership agreements with several conservation and wildlife organizations that will all play an active role in USDA’s 2011 CRP outreach efforts. Among others Idaho FSA partners with the Idaho Fish and game who also partners with Pheasants Forever.

As administrator of the Conservation Reserve Program, FSA will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that assists in calculating the environmental benefits to be gained from the contract. The EBI consists of five environmental factors (wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits). Cost factors are also entered into the equation.

In addition to the general sign-up, FSA’s CRP Continuous Sign-up Program is ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land. For more information, visit and view Conservation Programs.

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