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Heavy rainfall in late spring and early summer has caused widespread ponding and flooding in northwest and north-central Iowa, but a recently announced continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup provides farmers a well-timed opportunity to find long-term solutions for these problem spots in their fields.
The statewide CRP continuous signup 51 is targeting key water quality conservation practices, including wetland restoration, farmable wetlands, shallow water area for wildlife and saturated riparian buffers, said Amanda DeJong, state executive director of the Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA). CRP is voluntary program conservation program administered by the FSA, an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture.
“Along with water quality and wildlife benefits, these practices can help improve a farmer’s net rate of return by reducing replanting, herbicide and fertilizer costs all while providing a consistent source of income through rental payments,” she said. “Using CRP to target less profitable areas of your farm can help improve and simplify the overall management of your operation.”
These practices can also provide farmers a wider planting window on the remaining areas of their fields.
“If the wettest areas are enrolled into Continuous CRP, farmers can plant much sooner, boosting their chances for healthier crops and higher yields at harvest,” said Curt Goettsch, chief agricultural conservation specialist for Iowa FSA.
Other water quality practices available in this signup include:
Eligible landowners must submit their CRP offers by Aug. 17. Because developing a suitable offer takes multiple steps, FSA suggests interested participants should visit with their local office no later than Aug. 1 to begin the process, said Goettsch.
Under CRP continuous signup, FSA provides eligible participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Signup and practice incentives, as well as certain rental rate incentives, are not available for this signup period. Continuous signup contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration.
Eligible land must be cropland that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the six crops years from 2008 to 2013, and is physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity. A producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to submitting the offer.
Interested producers should visit their local FSA office.