Edward Hamill, executive director for Missouri USDA Farm Service Agency, announced last week that contracts for the Conservation Reserve Program for fiscal year 2012 have been awarded. In Missouri, 128,836 acres have been accepted into CRP during the most recent signup.
During the 41st general CRP signup conducted in the spring, more than 38,000 CRP offers were received on approximately 3.8 million acres nationwide. USDA accepted enrollment of 2.8 million acres, bringing the total program enrollment to 29.9 million acres, including 1.4 million acres in Missouri.
"The accepted CRP contracts perpetuate the past quarter century of program success by providing a low risk opportunity to implement a variety of conservation practices on environmentally sensitive land right here in Missouri," Hamill said. "CRP practices improve water and air quality, increase wildlife habitat and prevent soil erosion."
How successful is CRP? According to Hamill, since its inception 25 years ago, CRP acres have resulted in an 8-billion-ton reduction in soil erosion, restoration of 2 million acres of wetlands and adjacent buffers, vegetative protection of more than 200,000 stream bank buffers, and significant increases in upland wildlife numbers, which translates to recreational dollars for many rural economies.
Landowners enrolled in CRP receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Accepted contracts are effective Oct. 1, 2011.
All CRP offers were evaluated and ranked using an Environmental Benefits Index that indicates the environmental benefits of enrolling land in CRP. There are five environmental factors that make up the EBI: wildlife, water, soil, air, enduring benefits and cost.
For more information about the Conservation Reserve Program, contact your local county FSA Office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.
Source: Missouri USDA Farm Service Agency office