John Whitaker, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa reminds farmers and landowners who are participating in the Conservation Reserve Program to schedule maintenance and management activities on CRP acres outside of the primary nesting season. Iowa's primary nesting season begins on May 15, 2013, and continues through August 1, 2013.
"Acres enrolled in CRP are not eligible for cosmetic or periodic mowing at any time. Mowing or spraying weed infested areas is NOT allowed on CRP acreage during the primary nesting season without prior authorization from the FSA county committee in consultation with USDA/NRCS," says Whitaker.
Acres enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program aren't eligible for cosmetic or periodic mowing at any time
Participants with maintenance issues that require immediate attention should contact their local FSA office to file a written request for any spot spraying or mowing on CRP acres, with approval obtained prior to performing the activities. Whitaker points out that participants in the Conservation Reserve Program could refer to their completed conservation plan and NRCS job sheets provided during conservation plan development for guidance.
Failure to contact the county FSA office prior to any maintenance on CRP acres during nesting season may result in payment reductions or possible contract termination. For questions or more information about maintenance and management activities of CRP acres, please visit your local FSA county office or visit the website.
FSA Announces 45th General Sign-Up for Conservation Reserve Program
In another announcement made last week, FSA will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up beginning May 20 and ending on June 14.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
"It continues to be our goal to ensure that we use the CRP program to address our most critical resource issues," says Whitaker. "Over the last couple of years, our state has experienced both the worst flooding and the worst drought in 60 years. CRP protected environmentally sensitive lands from washing or blowing away. This program, also gave livestock producers extra grazing land when they needed it."
In addition to erosion control, CRP provides significant water quality benefits including reduced nutrients and sediment loadings and adverse consequences associated with floods as well as expanded and enhanced wildlife habitat.
Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in the program nationwide, 1.5 million acres in Iowa. CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. On September 30, 2013, contracts on an estimated 3.3 million acres of CRP nationwide are set to expire; 183,399 acres will expire in Iowa. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.
Producers whose offers are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance for planting covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. Continuous sign-ups often provide additional financial incentives. Those sign-up dates will be announced later. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit your local FSA county office or website.