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USDA accepts 14K acres of General Conservation Reserve Program land in South Dakota, 2M acres nationwide

Each year, during the window between offer acceptance and land enrollment, however, some producers change their mind and ultimately decide not to enroll some accepted acres without penalty.

Hanson County saw a rise of nearly 2,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land in 2018 according to Annette Steilen, district manager for the Hanson County Conservation District.
Hanson County saw a rise of nearly 2,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land in 2018 according to Annette Steilen, district manager for the Hanson County Conservation District.
Mitchell Republic file photo
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HURON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting 14,000 acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a sliver of the 2 million acres already accepted across the country in the program's first signup of the year.

With about 3.4 million acres expiring in 2022, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is encouraging producers and landowners alike to consider the Grassland and Continuous signups, both of which are open.

Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. Offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower compared to last year’s numbers, with fewer than 400,000 acres being offered this year versus over 700,000 acres offered last year.

Vilsack said it is important to note that submitting and accepting a CRP offer is the start of the process, and producers still need to develop a conservation plan before enrolling their land on October 1.

Each year, during the window between offer acceptance and land enrollment, some producers change their mind and ultimately decide not to enroll some accepted acres without penalty.

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The three other types of CRP — Grassland, Continuous, and CREP — are still available for either working-lands or targeted, often smaller sub-field, offers. Producers have submitted offers on nearly 260,000 acres through the Continuous and CREP signup so far this year. The Grassland signup, which had its highest-ever participation in 2021, closes on May 13, 2022.

General CRP signup

The General CRP Signup ran from Jan. 31 to March 11, 2022.

Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural land. In addition to the other well-documented benefits, lands enrolled in CRP are playing a key role in climate change mitigation efforts across the country.

In 2021, the Farm Security Administration introduced improvements to the program, which included a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This incentive provides a 3%, 5% or 10% incentive payment based on the predominant vegetation type for the practices enrolled — from grasses to trees to wetland restoration.

While the General signup is closed, producers and landowners can still apply for the Continuous and Grassland signups by contacting their local USDA Service Center . 

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. 

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