Program Helps Improve Water Quality, Reduce Soil Erosion and Develop Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands
WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/26/20]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) are reminding Minnesota landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to enroll before the February 28 general signup deadline.
The senators said that CRP, signed into law in 1985, is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Over the last 35 years, 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 protects critical natural resources and provides economic benefits for our rural communities,” Klobuchar said. “I worked to increase the number of acres in CRP in the 2018 Farm Bill so that farmers and landowners can continue to access the tools necessary to conserve and improve soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat. I encourage farmers and landowners to visit their local Farm Service Agency office to enroll now before the deadline passes.”
“Farmers and ranchers are environmental stewards who understand the way they farm impacts water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat,” said Sen. Smith. “CRP provides an option to help them boost conservation efforts that protect the environment and sustain their farms. I encourage Minnesotans to take advantage of this opportunity ahead of the February 28 deadline.”
The 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in December 2018, includes Klobuchar’s provision to increase the number of acres in the CRP to 27 million acres, based on Klobuchar and Senator John Thune’s (R-S.D.) Conservation Program Improvement Act.
The 2018 Farm Bill also includes conservation efforts led by Sen. Smith, including a provision from 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). It also includes Smith’s amendment streamlining the transition between two working lands conservation programs—the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and CSP.
CRP is a land conservation program administered by FSA. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, people enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. To enroll in CRP, contact your local FSA county office or visit fsa.usda.gov/crp. To locate your local FSA office, visit https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.