CRP sign-up now underway

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

WINTON – In full support of President George W. Bush’s recent directive to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sustain the environmental benefits of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), North Carolina Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced a General CRP Sign-up 29 to begin August 30, 2004.

Bill Earley, County Executive Director for Hertford County FSA explains that CRP sign-up 29 is offered for those acres currently enrolled in CRP and set to expire September 30, 2004 or September 30, 2005.

According to Earley, eligible cropland never before enrolled in CRP will also be considered for enrollment under General CRP sign-up 29.

&uot;As further expansion to the CRP program, President Bush has announced a couple of new initiatives including a Bobwhite quail initiative and an expanded wetland program designed to enhance wetlands and playa lake areas,&uot; said Earley.

&uot;Provisions and eligibility guidelines for these and other new CRP components will be forthcoming as USDA works through the development process.&uot;

In light of the projected 16 million acres of CRP set to expire in 2007 and an additional six million acres to expire in 2008, President Bush addressed his vision for the future of the CRP program – the nation’s largest, voluntary conservation program offered for private lands.

In a continued effort to &uot;restore, enhance and protect&uot; environmentally sensitive land, build on producer stewardship and enhance wetland and wildlife acres, the President expressed his commitment to re-enrolling as many CRP acres as possible up to a maximum of 39.2 million acres nationwide.

&uot;Producers and landowners need to understand that CRP sign-up 29 is complete separate from potential ‘re-enrollment’ of acres expiring in 2007 and 2008,&uot; said Early. &uot;No provisions for these acres will be made until the 120-day public comment period had ended.&uot;

Individuals interested in making public comment pertaining to managing the large number of acres set to expire in three to four years, managing future CRP sign-ups, evaluating the program’s environmental effectiveness or other related topics concern can weigh-in on FSA’s website at:

Comments on the issues must be received within 120 days after the date published in the Federal Register. Written comments should be mailed to Director, Conservation and Environmental Programs Division (CEPD), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Room 4714-S, Stop 0513, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-0513.