USDA Opens Limited CRP Enrollment Through August 17, High Demand Expected

Reopened this week to the benefit of soil, water, and wildlife nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has resumed acceptance of applications for the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for the first time in over a year. Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign-up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between now and Aug. 17, 2018.

“We thank Secretary Perdue for making these practices available and recognize he and the team at USDA will be watching the signup process closely due to the 24 million-acre cap that cannot be exceeded,” stated Jim Inglis, director of governmental affairs for Quail Forever. “However, we would like to see the full suite of continuous conservation practices opened as soon as possible; we're especially concerned about not having State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement or Upland Quail Buffers open for enrollment. Having all CRP options available, including a future general CRP signup, would maximize benefits for wildlife habitat while providing the necessary tools for landowners to manage for healthy soil and water.”

FSA halted new CRP contracts just over a year ago after the acreage cap – set at 24 million acres by the 2014 Farm Bill – was reached. With nearly 22.7 million acres currently enrolled in the program, Quail Forever urges interested landowners to apply quickly due to the demand for voluntary conservation practices witnessed in 2017. “Even with popular practices closed for enrollment such as SAFE or Bobwhite Buffers which target specific upland birds, we anticipate landowner interest will be quite high,” added Inglis.

Quail Forever is working harder than ever to ensure wildlife habitat is a priority of the 2018 Farm Bill. Currently, the House version of the Farm Bill expands the program from 24 million acres to 29 million acres – great news for landowners and upland hunters. The Senate is working on their draft language that is slated to be reviewed in committee with a potential vote on the Senate floor by end of June. “The Habitat Organization” will provide updates and action alerts as things progress for the 2018 Farm Bill in the weeks to come.  

Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment: June 4 – August 17, 2018
  • Eligible continuous CRP practices for the allotted sign-up period include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others listed here.
  • The CRP Grasslands is available to landowners. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria. Producers with pending applications will receive a letter providing the options.
  • USDA will offer a one-year extension to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.
  • Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign-up at their local Farm Service Agency office between now and Aug. 17, 2018.
About Quail Forever 

Quail Forever is a leading organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation efforts for the United States’ native quail species. Since its creation in 2005, Quail Forever has conducted more than 13,000 habitat projects across the nation benefitting quail and other wildlife. Along with its affiliate organization Pheasants Forever, it has committed more than $784 million to improve more than 17 million acres of wildlife habitat. Quail Forever has more than 16,000 members and 170 local chapters across the country. Both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever are part of Pheasants Forever, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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Jared Wiklund
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