CRP now benefits landowners, but deadline is quickly approaching
Programs Director, Western Landowners Alliance
Thanks to leadership from Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and the hard work of Western Landowners Alliance members and others on the 2018 farm bill, western landowners, ranchers and producers who manage their land in a way that complements and conserves wildlife and wildlife habitat now qualify for benefits from USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program. But landowners must apply quickly — the deadline is May 15, 2020.
This win-win allows landowners the ability to protect grasslands, rangelands and pastures, while maintaining their land as working lands. CRP is an opportunity for agricultural producers to contract with USDA’s Farm Service Agency so agricultural land is used for conservation benefits, such as improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife.
Specifically, new provisions in the program recognize lands of ecological significance, including lands that support at-risk species, threatened and endangered (T&E) species and wildlife corridors. Farmers, ranchers and producers who include acreages that are known to be in areas of designated candidate, T&E species, critical wildlife habitat and/or wildlife corridors are encouraged to explore this opportunity to participate in the CRP Grasslands program.
That could mean a lot of Colorado landowners could qualify. FSA works with willing landowners, ranchers and producers who are interested in receiving annual payments for their participation in the program. Payments vary from state to state and from county to county within each state. For example, in Colorado payments range from $1 to $11 per acre.
Interested and willing landowners are encouraged to contact their County FSA office prior to May 15, 2020, to apply for the program. Find an office near you at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.