USDA announces dates for CRP Grasslands signups
WASHINGTON — Agricultural producers and landowners can apply for the Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands signup from July 12 until Aug. 20. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated signup options to provide greater incentives for producers and increase the program’s conservation and climate benefits, including setting a minimum rental rate and identifying two national priority zones.
The CRP Grassland signup is competitive, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency will provide for annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.
“We are excited to roll out our new and improved CRP Grasslands signups,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Bottom line, CRP now makes more financial sense for producers while also providing a bigger return on investment in terms of natural resource benefits. The Grasslands signup is part of a broader suite of tools available through CRP to integrate key conservation practices on our nation’s working lands.”
CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and provides important carbon sequestration benefits.
FSA has updated the Grasslands Signup to establish a minimum rental rate of $15 per acre, which will benefit 1,300 counties.
To focus on important wildlife corridors, FSA also identified National Grassland Priority Zones, providing extra incentives to producers for enrolling grasslands in important migratory corridors and environmentally sensitive areas — the Greater Yellowstone Elk Migration Corridor and the Severe Wind Erosion — Dust Bowl Zone. Counties within these two zones get extra ranking points as well as $5 added to their rental rate. The CRP Grasslands Ranking Factors fact sheet has additional information.
To enroll in the CRP Grasslands signup, producers and landowners should contact USDA by the Aug. 20 deadline. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact your Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment. Additionally, more information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
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