A new window has opened for sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). USDA will resume allowing continuous CRP sign-ups from June 4 through August 17.
According to USDA, producers with contracts that will mature Sept. 30 and have a contract term of 14 years or less will also be able to enroll for a one-year extension during the same sign-up period. However, producers with contracts that would breach the 15-year limit with a one-year extension are not eligible.
According to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer, USDA has not allowed continuous sign-ups under CRP so far in fiscal year 2018 as it sought to keep CRP acres under the cap of 24 million acres.
Limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment, including grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others, USDA says.
Current CRP enrollment is about 22.7 million acres. USDA has not published the number of acres in the CRP since September 2017 when there were 23.43 million acres enrolled in the program.
“There were 2.51 million acres scheduled to expire as of Sept. 30 while the FY 2017 continuous sign-up resulted in 1.185 million acres enrolled in the program with contracts to start Oct. 1, 2017,” Wiesemeyer says.
The CRP program has long been accused of inflating land prices. USDA plans to combat that with updated soil rental rates for annual rental payments and will not issue any incentive payments.
–Anna-Lisa Laca, Farm Journal, LandOwner Newsletter June 28, 2018