USDA to extend Conservation Reserve Progrm contracts

USDA to extend Conservation Reserve Progrm contracts
"The expiration affects approximately 8,000 acres now protected by the CRP in South Dakota," said Cutler. "Extending certain existing contracts will ensure that CRP's environmental benefits are preserved."

All contracts expiring Sept. 30 are eligible for the extension except where the extension would cause the contract to exceed a total of 15 years.�The local County FSA Offices will notify eligible CRP participants of their option to modify and extend their CRP contracts. The deadline to apply for this extension is Sept. 2.

The extension will not change participants' rental rates. All or a portion of the acreage under contract may be included in an extension, but no new acreage may be added.�Obligations and responsibilities under the original contract continue to apply to contracts that are modified and extended.

USDA is not planning to offer a general CRP signup in fiscal year 2005.�However, producers may continue to enroll relatively small, highly-desirable acreage, such as filter strips and riparian buffers, in the continuous CRP at any time at their local FSA office.

The CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments for 10- to 15-years and cost-share assistance to establish the practice.

Since its inception in 1986, CRP continues to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and wildlife habitat, and sequester atmospheric carbon in the 35 million acres currently enrolled in the program.

For more information on the CRP program, contact your local FSA office or visit the FSA Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crp.htm.

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