August 29, 2003
Two Million Additional Acres in CRP
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced on Monday, Aug. 25, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) accepted 2 million acres of the nation?s most environmentally sensitive land into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a program designed to protect fragile natural resources and enhance the environment.
In this 26th general sign-up, USDA selected 2.0 million of the 4.1 million acres offered. The five environmental factors used to rank the CRP offers were: 1) soil erosion; 2) water quality; 3) enduring benefits; 4) air quality; and 5) wildlife enhancement.
All offers were ranked on the same basis. Offers with a score of at least 269 were accepted for enrollment. The average environmental benefits score for this sign-up was 302. The average rental rate per acre was $56.53, providing annual rental payments of $112 million to farmers in 39 states.
This additional acreage raised the total acreage in the CRP to 36.1 million acres. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized USDA to expand the CRP enrollment by up to 39.2 million acres.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33