The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) offers several programs for landowners to enroll environmentally sensitive farmland into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The continuous and general CRP signups provide annual rental payments to producers and landowners for establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species on cropland, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat
Continuous CRP allows landowners to enroll new land at any time during the year, and includes the State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice. Under SAFE, landowners can design special habitat for pheasant, bobwhite, grassland songbirds, and other species. SAFE is only available in targeted geographies, producers not eligible for SAFE can offer land into other continuous practices or thru the general signup.
USDA announced a general signup that began Jan. 31 and runs thru March 11. Producers and landowners who are not eligible for continuous CRP practices like SAFE can enroll in the general signup if the farmland meets eligibility requirements. Rental rates for the general signup are capped at $240 per acre, and at $300 per acre for Continuous CRP. Approximately 119,000 acres in Iowa enrolled in CRP will expire this year.
Landowners and producers interested in re-enrolling existing CRP or offering new cropland should contact staff with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Private Lands Program, Pheasants Forever farm bill biologists, or their local USDA Service Center to learn their options before the general signup March 11 deadline. Fact sheets and other resources are available at fsa.usda.gov/crp.
More information, including local staff contact information, is available online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/