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USDA announces Conservation Reserve Program general signup for 2024

  • 3/5/2024 12:02:00 PM
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DES MOINES, Iowa – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin signing up for the general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting March 4 and running through March 29, 2024. This conservation opportunity gives producers tools to conserve wildlife habitat while achieving other conservation benefits, including sequestering carbon and improving water quality and soil health. 

“Historically, CRP has been important to us but it has become more important through time,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “As a percentage of habitat on the landscape, CRP has grown from 42 percent in 1990 to 62 percent in 2023. As CRP goes in Iowa, so goes Iowa pheasants, and that’s why the Farm Bill is so important to us.”

In addition, landowners are reminded USDA opened up the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP) for signups on Jan. 12. Continuous CRP is one of the most flexible conservation tools we can provide producers and landowners. One popular wildlife practice under Continuous CRP is the State Acres For Enhancement (SAFE). The SAFE initiative restores vital wildlife habitat in order to meet high-priority state wildlife goals. Iowa has SAFE projects that target pheasants, quail, prairie chicken, ruffed grouse and grassland songbirds. 

Landowners and producers interested in CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before their deadlines.  Those landowners interested in more details on SAFE can visit the DNR’s CRP page at www.iowadnr.gov/crp.

As one of the largest private lands conservation programs in the United States, CRP offers a range of conservation options to farmers, ranchers, and landowners. It has been an especially strong opportunity for farmers with less productive or marginal cropland, helping them re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and support wildlife habitat.

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