SPRINGFIELD – The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Illinois Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Scherrie Giamanco reminded farmers and ranchers the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up will end on June 14.
Giamanco also announced the restart of sign-up for continuous CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Initiative (SAFE), the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Initiative, the Grassland Restoration Initiative, the Pollinator Habitat Initiative and other related initiatives. Sign-up for continuous CRP began on May 13 and will continue through Sept. 30.
"As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers," said Giamanco. "CRP is an important program for protecting environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Through the voluntary participation of our farmers and ranchers, CRP helps us to protect our natural resources, preserve wildlife habitat and bring good paying jobs to rural America related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. "
Giamanco encouraged producers to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis.
Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Currently, 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP through 700,000 contracts on 390,000 farms throughout the U.S., with enrollment in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Contracts on an estimated 3.3 million acres will expire on Sept. 30.
For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov.