What is in this article?:
- New CRP Initiative to restore grasslands, wetlands and wildlife
- Changes in program
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces new conservation initiative.
- Producers may enroll a total of 1 million acres of land in a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) initiative to preserve grasslands and wetlands.
- Producers whose land meets eligibility criteria can enroll directly in this "continuous" category at any time.
Changes in program
Rather than wait for a general sign-up (the process under which most CRP acres are enrolled), producers whose land meet eligibility criteria can enroll directly in this "continuous" category at any time. Some of the changes brought on by the expansion will take place immediately and some will be initiated in the coming months. Changes include:
New Continuous Pollinator Practice – 100,000 additional acres
A new continuous practice to permit producers to develop pollinator habitat for many pollinator species.
Increase Acreage for Wetland Restoration – 200,000 additional acres
Two practices will expand that are designed to restore wetlands that are both within a 100-year floodplain and outside of a100-year floodplain. Last year's floods were a strong reminder of the value of wetlands in absorbing storm water and slowing run-off.
Restoration of Critical Grassland Ecosystems
This initiative targets areas that can restore important habitats to protect threatened and/or endangered species, candidate species, or species of significant social/economic importance. The restoration work would be done through the following existing practices and sub-initiatives:
Increase Acreage for SAFE – 400,000 additional acres
SAFE practices provide the flexibility to meet the specific needs of high-value wildlife species in a participating state or region through higher-quality habitat. SAFE projects would be developed at the state and local level.
Increase Acreage for Duck Nesting Habitat – 150,000 additional acres
Restores wetlands and develops nesting habitat in areas deemed as the most critical waterfowl areas. Currently, there are 175,000 acres enrolled in this practice.
Increase Acreage for Upland Bird Habitat Buffers – 150,000 additional acres
Provides extremely valuable habitat for upland birds such as quail and pheasants. Currently, there are 244,000 acres enrolled in this initiative.
Provide Greater Incentives for Continuous CRP
To encourage producers to sign up their most environmentally valuable acres FSA will increase the Signing Incentive Payments (SIPs) to $150 per acre from the current level of $100 per acre. The incentive is offered on most continuous practices and will include wetland restorations, pollinators and upland bird habitat.