USDA Clarifies Prescribed Burn Plan Rules for CRP Contract Holders

USDA Clarifies Prescribed Burn Plan Rules for CRP Contract Holders

Landowners need to meet mid-contract management requirements for land in Conservation Reserve Program.

Landowners needing to conduct prescribed burns to meet mid-contract management requirements of Conservation Reserve Program contracts may use a variety of sources for writing prescribed burn plans.

"Prescribed burn plans may be written by the landowner, volunteer fire departments, Technical Service Providers, local County Conservation Boards, non-government organizations, state agency personnel or other knowledgeable person," says NRCS state conservationist Rich Sims of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa. "In Iowa, no formal certified training is required to write burn plans."

Although NRCS employees cannot write burn plans, the agency has provided a Prescribed Burn job sheet for landowners to use as a planning tool. Copies are available at

John Myers, NRCS state resource conservationist for Iowa, highlights some key considerations when conducting prescribed burns:

  • Always notify your local fire department before the burn.
  • Landowners are liable for damages caused by the burn.
  • Monitor wind conditions to reduce chances of fire spreading from planned burn area.
  • Be aware of how smoke may affect visibility on nearby roads and conditions at nearby facilities like hospitals.

Landowners may not conduct burns between May 15 and Aug. 1 which is the primary nesting season for birds. This would result in CRP contract termination, according to Farm Service Agency rules.

Financial assistance is not available for writing a prescribed burn plan. But it is available to eligible landowners for the costs associated with conducting the burn. Contact your local FSA office for more information.

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