Producers Encouraged to Discuss Expired or Expiring CRP Land Options
Temple, Texas, March 8 � USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Salvador Salinas urges producers to contact their local NRCS field offices to discuss options for expired or expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts and to check on eligibility for USDA benefits.
�It�s important for landowners to understand USDA conservation compliance before putting a plow in the ground,� Salinas says. �Producers should know the options available to them.�
Landowners are encouraged to visit with NRCS conservationists in USDA Service Centers in their county to discuss management decisions and options for their land. NRCS offers USDA programs that can provide technical and financial assistance for grazing or haying existing grass cover, making enhancements to target wildlife, or other management options.
�Developing conservation plans with private landowners is our daily routine,� Salinas says. �We are committed to providing this service to all producers interested in our assistance. We have employees specially trained to discuss landowner opportunities with expired or expiring CRP land.�
An option to improve and protect the habitat would be enrollment in the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). Under the GRP, a landowner may enter into a rental agreement for a period of 10, 15 or 20 years. The agreement requires implementation of a grazing plan developed by NRCS and the participant agrees to maintain the land in grass cover in exchange for a per-acre payment. Under GRP, the land may be used for grazing or haying purposes.
Landowners may also apply for a conservation easement to protect the land in perpetuity. GRP 20-year rental contracts and easement applications place priority on CRP land that are within 12 months of expiring. GRP also offers cost-share assistance for practices needed to restore the grazing values.
Landowners with expiring or expired CRP land may also be interested in applying for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is a voluntary five-year program that offers payments to producers who sustain a high level of conservation on their land. Under CSP, landowners have a variety of land management activities to consider.
NRCS also reminds landowners that if land is converted back to crop production, it may be necessary for them to apply certain conservation practice alternatives on their land to ensure compliance with the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985. Conservation compliance could involve the implementation of a crop rotation that includes high residue-producing crops like wheat or sorghum, or the installation, repair and maintenance of structural practices like terraces.