- This is a joint press release from the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency, the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources -
DES MOINES-Producers who are tired of farming steep side slopes and other environmentally sensitive land can put that land into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Starting March 14, the general CRP sign-up continues through April 15 at USDA Farm Service Agency offices.
"In CRP's 25th year, we are proud that we can continue to enroll and re-enroll producers into this premiere private lands conservation program," said John R. Whitaker, state executive director of the Iowa Farm Service Agency.
The CRP contracts provide annual rental payments to landowners who in turn agree to apply conservation practices that will reduce soil erosion, improve water and air quality, or provide winter cover and food for wildlife.
Updated rental rates may make CRP a more attractive alternative where costs are high and yields are low.
"The CRP signup is a good opportunity for farmers and landowner to re-evaluate their land use decisions. Some parts of Iowa are row cropped that would be better left in permanent grass cover. CRP may be a better land use option for those producers," said Rich Sims, state conservationist with the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"Crop producers who selectively use CRP on problem areas provide cleaner water and air for all Iowans. Planting grasses or trees provides habitat that is critical to reverse the decline of pheasants, songbirds and other wildlife," said Roger L. Lande, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Take aim at erosion with precision CRP. The FSA and NRCS, along with DNR, suggest producers with compliance concerns stop by the USDA service centers to learn to effectively use CRP. By targeting specific soil types and subdividing fields, producers may be better able to control soil erosion while gaining some flexibility in tillage practices.
Staff from FSA, along with the NRCS and DNR, can also help you find a CRP practice and planting mix that will increase the chances of your offer being accepted into CRP while achieving your goals for wildlife habitat and erosion control.
Offers accepted into the CRP through the bidding process, will become effective Oct. 1, 2011. Nationwide about 4.4 million acres of CRP expire this fall.
For more information on the general Conservation Reserve Program sign up, please contact your county FSA office or access the website at www.fsa.usda.gov. Success stories and more information are also available on the NRCS and DNR websites at www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov and www.iowadnr.gov/crp.html.
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