Conservation program signup starts March 14

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A general signup for the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program will run from March 14-April 15.

During the signup period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general signup at the Roane/Loudon Farm Service Agency office at at 424 N. Kentucky St., Kingston.

The phone number is 376-2392.

“Over the past 25 years, CRP’s benefits have grown thanks to many unexpected, but welcomed improvements to our natural resources — cleaner water, improved air quality, better habitat for wildlife, viewing opportunities of that wildlife and of course, a huge reduction in soil erosion,” said Gene Davidson, state executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Tennessee.

“Today’s announcement will help this administration continue its strong conservation legacy.”

Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met.

Additionally, current program participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers.

Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1.  

To help ensure that interested farmers and ranchers are aware of the signup period, USDA has signed partnership agreements with several conservation and wildlife organizations that will play an active role in USDA’s 2011 CRP outreach efforts.

FSA, which administers the program, will evaluate and rank eligible offers using an Environmental Benefits Index that shows the environmental benefits to be gained from enrolling the land in the program.

The index consists of five environmental factors  — wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits — and cost.  Decisions on the cutoff will be made after the sign-up ends and after analyzing the data of all the offers.

For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.