March 31, 2006 -- The general sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) began on Monday, March 27, and continues through Friday, April 14, 2006.
?I strongly encourage all eligible farmers to continue improving our soil, water, air and wildlife habitat resources by applying for the CRP at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices,? commented Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
Participants voluntarily enroll highly erodible and other fragile cropland in CRP through long-term contracts of 10 years to 15 years. On the enrolled land, participants plant grasses, trees and other vegetation. In exchange, they receive annual rental payments and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation covers.
With a current enrollment of 36 million acres, CRP?s cooperative conservation is nearing the maximum allowable acreage of 39.2 million.
As in previous general sign-ups, the FSA will evaluate eligible CRP offers utilizing the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). FSA determine the EBI cutoff after the sign-up ends. Since the EBI cutoff used in previous sign-ups may be different for this sign-up, those who met previous EBI thresholds are not guaranteed a contract under this sign-up.
During the last CRP general sign-up, held Aug. 30 to Sept. 24, 2004, enrollment offers were highly competitive. Of the 1.7 million acres offered, FSA selected 1.2 million acres that offered the greatest environmental benefits.
Offers accepted in this sign-up will be effective Oct. 1, 2006.