Over the past 26 years, the federal Conservation Reserve Program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency has created millions of acres of upland and wetland habitat for quail, pheasants, ducks, deer, turkeys and a wide array of nongame wildlife by offering payments to farmers for taking highly erodible farmland out of production.
This effort continues with the USDA's and Missouri Farm Service's (MFS) recent announcement of a CRP general signup March 12 - April 6.
Landowners enrolled in CRP receive annual payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland. According to the FSA website, "CRP is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to control soil erosion, improve water and air quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 to 15 years."
According to the USDA, an estimated 6.5 million CRP acres are scheduled to expire nationwide in September with more than 377,000 of those acres being in Missouri.
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff can help farmers and other eligible landowners determine program eligibility, options, seeding mixes and maintenance requirements to help sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife. Visit www.mdc.mo.gov to find local MDC Private Land Conservationists under "Who's My Local Contact."
For more information on the CRP general signup and other conservation programs, contact the local USDA Service Center and speak with an FSA representative or MDC Private Land Conservationist. Visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for program details.
Source: Missouri Farm Service Agency