The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Vilsack announces 1 million-acre CRP enrollment program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new program to enroll 1 million acres of land in a new Conservation Reserve Program.

Vilsack mentioned the program in a speech at the Commodity Classic in Nashville and was scheduled to highlight details of the announcement at a White House conference at the White House “Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy” conference held at the Interior Department.

Rather than wait for a general sign-up — the process under which most CRP acres are enrolled — producers whose land meets eligibility criteria can enroll directly in this “continuous” category at any time, Vilsack said in a news release.

The new initiative will allow:
  • New continuous pollinator practice — 100,000 additional acres
  • Wetland restoration within and without a 100-year flood plain — 200,000 additional acres
  • Restoration of critical grassland ecosystems, targeting areas that can restore habitats to protect threatened or endangered species, candidate species, or species of significant social/economic importance. This would add 400,000 additional acreage for SAFE practices for high-value wildlife species, 150,000 additional acres for duck nesting habitat, and 150,000 additional acres for upland bird habitat buffers.
To encourage producers to sign up their most environmentally valuable acres, the Farm Service Agency will increase the signing incentive payments from $100 per acre to $150 per acre. The incentive is offered on most continuous practices and will include wetland restorations, pollinators and upland bird habitat.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership praised the announcement.

“Specific enrollment goals within the 32-million acre program will be set to benefit duck nesting habitat, upland bird habitat and wetlands, thereby helping secure fish and wildlife populations critical to our nation’s outdoor traditions,” Steve Kline, director of the TRCP Center for Agricultural and Private Lands, said in a news release.