USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will process many pending eligible offers for land enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and will temporarily suspend accepting most new offers until later in the 2018 fiscal year.
All current, eligible CRP continuous enrollment offers made through Sept. 30, 2017, except for those made under the Pollinator Habitat Initiative (CP42), will be approved. Additionally, FSA is temporarily suspending acceptance of most offers going forward to provide time to review CRP allocation levels and to avoid exceeding the statutory cap of 24 million acres. The Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap is a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill. Current enrollment is about 23.5 million acres nationwide.
USDA is accepting all pending CRP continuous enrollment offers that were made beginning on May 4, 2017, and extending through Sept. 30, 2017, except Pollinator Habitat Initiative offers. Pollinator acreage offers are being declined because the program has met its acreage enrollment goal. In addition, Nebraska already is at its state-level acreage cap for the highly erodible land initiative, the Upland Bird State Acres for Wildlife Habitat (SAFE) and the Tallgrass Prairie SAFE, so offers cannot be accepted for these initiatives.
Effective immediately, USDA is suspending acceptance of all new CRP continuous offers received or submitted after Sept. 30, 2017. The suspension will continue until later in the 2018 fiscal year.
However, FSA will continue to accept eligible offers for state-specific Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP Grasslands enrollment. In Nebraska, in addition to the CRP Grasslands enrollment, the Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP is still available. Offers received on or after Oct. 1, 2017, are subject to fiscal year 2018 rental rates which have been adjusted to reflect current market conditions and were established after careful review of the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) cash rent data.
In return for enrolling in the Conservation Reserve Program, USDA, through FSA, provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years. CRP pays farmers and ranchers who remove sensitive lands from production and plant certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat. Payments for 2017 were announced recently and totaled over $1.6 billion.
For more information about CRP, contact your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp. To locate your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.