Program Helps Improve Water Quality, Reduce Soil Erosion and Develop Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands
WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/19/21]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which was originally February 12. A new deadline has not yet been announced but producers and landowners are encouraged to use this additional time to enroll sooner rather than later.
The CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Participants receive an annual payment in exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve its condition.
Senators Klobuchar and Smith said that for decades CRP has helped improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat on private lands in Minnesota and across the country.
“The Conservation Reserve Program is key to supporting Minnesota producers and landowners who help ensure the health of our state’s water, soil, and wildlife,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This is why I worked to increase the acreage in the program to 27 million acres in the 2018 Farm Bill. I am proud to continue supporting this important program to protect our state’s private lands, and I encourage interested producers to use this extra time to sign up.”
“For decades, the Conservation Reserve Program has provided income to Minnesota producers and landowners who have taken actions to improve water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat and more,” said Sen. Smith. “In October I pressed the USDA to increase incentive payments to help more producers and landowners participate. I encourage interested Minnesotans to take advantage of this deadline extension.”
The 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in December 2018, includes Sen. Klobuchar’s provision to increase the number of acres in the CRP to 27 million acres, based on Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) Conservation Program Improvement Act.
In 2020, Sen. Smith pressed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to increase incentive payments for the Conservation Reserve Program. In 2018, Sen. Smith’s SOIL Stewardship Act to expand efforts to reduce carbon emissions, prevent soil erosion, improve water quality and reform the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill also included Sen. Smith’s amendment streamlining the transition between two working lands conservation programs—the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and CSP.