New CRP Program Launched
The Agriculture Department will unveil a program today that provides financial incentives for farmers to enroll up to 1 million new acres of grasslands and wetlands into the Conservation Reserve Program. According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA’s goal is to maintain the level of erodible farmland in the CRP program at the current level (30 million acres).
The new program will focus on setting aside land for wetlands restoration, with a goal of 200,000 additional acres enrolled. An increase in grasslands enrollment of 700,000 acres is planned. This will include land for duck nesting and upland bird habitat. In addition, the program allows for 100,000 new acres to be set aside for pollinators—bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
According to USDA estimates, land enrolled in CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into waterways. CRP contracts on 6.5 million acres expire at the end of September.