Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that during October, USDA will distribute approximately $1.6 billion in annual Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments and $3.8 billion in final 2010 direct payments to America's farmers and ranchers.

"October is an important production month because CRP rental payments, direct and counter-cyclical payments (DCP), and now Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments are paid during this first month of the Federal fiscal year," said Vilsack. "These funds support the agricultural economy and responsible stewardship of America's production acreage."

Beginning Oct. 4, producers holding 744,000 CRP contracts on 416,000 farms will receive an average of $52.56 per acre in CRP rental payments. Producers earn an average of $3,955 per farm enrolled in CRP. Included in the totals are 402,000 contracts (4.6 million acres) for continuous CRP enrollments and 342,000 contracts (26.7 million acres) enrolled under general CRP sign-ups.

Currently, total CRP enrollment stands at 31.3 million acres, making CRP the largest public-private partnership for conservation and wildlife habitat in the United States. This voluntary program helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land and provide millions of acres of habitat for game and non-game wildlife species.

USDA also issues non-rental CRP payments throughout the year. These payments for certain contracts include a 50 percent expense reimbursement for establishing and managing cover as well as incentive payments for enrolling eligible high priority conservation practices.

A table located at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/apporttable.pdf lists enrollments by state, number of contracts, number of farms, acres enrolled as of the end of the 2010 fiscal year and CRP projected rental payments for fiscal year 2011.