Utah's FSA office explains opportunity to modify, extend current CRP contracts
The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency's office in Utah recently announced that FSA will offer certain producers the opportunity to modify and extend conservation reserve program contracts set to expire Sept. 30.
"USDA is committed to safeguarding the nation's natural resources and this program will help protect millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion and enhance the quality of our water," said Utah FSA representative Lori Jones.
According to Jones, FSA can extend approximately 1.5 million acres out of a total 3.9 million acres expiring in 2009. The extension will ensure that FSA meets the statutory CRP acreage limitation of 32 million acres established in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
CRP is a voluntary program, pointed out the FSA representative.
Participants receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
No general CRP sign-up is scheduled during 2009, continued the FSA representative.
However, Castle Valley producers may continue to enroll relatively small, highly desirable acreages, including unextended land, into continuous CRP.
Continuous CRP includes such practices as filter strips and riparian buffers.
The sign-up for the voluntary extension will run through June 30.
Farmers and ranchers in the Carbon-Emery area may apply for the extension at the local FSA county office.
FSA administers the program on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation.
CRP contracts with the highest environmental benefit or with the highest potential for soil erosion will be selected.
CRP contracts cannot exceed 15 years in the aggregate.
Chosen CRP contract holders will generally be offered a three to five year extension.
Producers electing to extend contract periods will receive current rental rates.
All or a portion of the acreage under contract may be included in an extension, explained the FSA representative.
However, no new acreage may be added.
Through CRP, FSA enters into long-term, 10- to 15-year contracts with agricultural producers to protect highly erodible and other environmentally-sensitive land.
Participants convert enrolled land to grass, trees, wildlife habitats and other conservation uses.
The program has reduced soil erosion by over 400 million tons, protected over 2 million acres of wetlands and resulted in buffers established on more than 100,000 miles of streams and rivers.
For additional information about CRP and other programs, Castle Valley residents may contact a local office or visit http://fsa.usda.gov.