Donny Green, County Executive Director of the Cannon County Farm Service Agency announces the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Sign-up began August 2 and will continue through August 27, 2010. Producers can sign up at the Cannon County Farm Service Agency located at 740 Old McMinnville Rd. in Woodbury.
Current participants with contracts expiring this fall can make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this sign-up will become at the beginning of the next fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2010. To be eligible land must have been planted to an agricultural commodity during 4 of the 6 crop years 2002-2007 and be physically capable of being planted in an agricultural commodity in a normal manner. In addition to the eligible land requirements, land must meet one of the following criteria:
Have a weighted average erosion index of 8 or higher;
Be expiring CRP acreage; or
Be located in a national or state CRP conservation priority area.
To be eligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to the close of the signup period, unless:
The new owner acquired the land due to the previous owner’s death;
The ownership change occurred due to foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right or redemption in accordance with state law; or
The circumstances of the acquisition present adequate assurance to FSA that the new owner did not acquire the land for the purpose of placing it in CRP.
CRP protects millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion and is designed to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. Participants voluntarily remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production by entering into long-term contracts for 10 to 15 years.
In exchange, participants receive annual rental payments and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation practices. FSA bases rental rates on the relative productivity of the soils within each county and the average dryland cash rent or cash rent equivalent. The maximum CRP rental rate is calculated in advance of enrollment. Producers may offer land at that rate or offer a lower rental rate to increase the likelihood that their offer will be accepted.
CRP annual rental payments may include an additional amount up to $5 per acre per year as an incentive to perform certain maintenance obligations. FSA provides cost-share assistance to participants who establish approved cover on eligible cropland that is accepted into the CRP. The cost-share assistance can be an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the participant’s costs in establishing the approved practices.
The Farm Service Agency will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) for environmental benefits to be gained from enrolling the land in CRP. Decisions on the EBI cutoff will be made after the sign-up ends and after analyzing the EBI numbers of all the offers. Interested producers can consult with local USDA experts on steps producers can take to maximize EBI points and increase the likelihood that their offer will be accepted.