Conservation program signup starts March 14

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2011

RALEIGH ó Aaron Martin, executive director of North Carolinaís USDAís Farm Service Agency, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack set general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to begin March 14, continuing through April 15.
During the signup period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land for CRPís competitive general signup at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
ěFor 25 years, the Conservation Reserve Programís benefits have grown, due to improvements to our natural resources of cleaner water, improved air quality, better habitat for wildlife, viewing opportunities of that wildlife and a reduction in soil erosion,î said Martin. ěThis sign-up announcement will help the administration continue its strong conservation legacy.î
Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1.
To help ensure that interested farmers and ranchers are aware of the signup period, USDA has signed partnership agreements with several conservation and wildlife organizations that will all play an active role in USDAís 2011 CRP outreach efforts.
FSA, which administers the CRP, will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that shows the environmental benefits to be gained from enrolling the land in CRP.
The EBI consists of five environmental factors (wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits) and cost. Decisions on the EBI cutoff will be made after the sign-up ends and after analyzing the EBI data of all the offers.
In addition to the general sign-up, CRPís continuous sign-up program will be ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land. For more information, visit the Stanly County FSA Office at 2727 Old Concord Road, Salisbury, or call 704-637-1602, ext. 2.