For 27 years, the federal Conservation Reserve Program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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. Efforts continue with the USDA’s recent announcement of a General CRP signup May 20 – June 14.
USDA also announced the restart of sign-up for the Continuous CRP on May 13. Landowners once again have the opportunity to enroll crop field borders or whole fields in wildlife friendly vegetation. CCRP is offered on a continuous, non-competitive sign-up basis.
Landowners enrolled in GCRP and CCRP receive annual payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible land. According to FSA, “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.”
In response to the continued loss of CRP acres and the important wildlife habitat it provides in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Conservation is continuing the MDC CRP Incentive Program in select CRP priority areas. MDC is offering landowners a one-time incentive payment of $100-$150 per acre for enrolling in the wildlife friendly CP33-Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, CP38 – SAFE, or CP42-Pollinator Habitat practices.
The MDC CRP Incentive is available in the following counties, including Ray: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Bates, Bollinger, Buchanan, Butler, Caldwell, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Carroll, Chariton, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Dade, Daviess, DeKalb, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Maries, Mercer, Mississippi, Monroe, Moniteau, Morgan, New Madrid, Osage, Nodaway, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Platte, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Genevieve, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, Shelby, Stoddard, Sullivan, Vernon, Warren, and Worth.
MDC staff can help farmers and other eligible landowners determine program eligibility, options, and seeding mixes 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 information on CRP signup and other programs, call the local USDA Service Center or visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for program details.