For Immediate Release
USDA Secretary Delivers Welcome CRP News to Quail, Pheasants and Hunters
CRP General Sign-up announced along with opening continuous CRP
Minneapolis, Minn. - February 16 -
Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever were pleased to be joined today by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during its sold out 30th anniversary banquet in Minneapolis. During his keynote address at the event, Secretary Vilsack announced much needed conservation tools to the attendees. The audience for the announcement included U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator Al Franken, U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, and more than 1,000 Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever members.
The Secretary outlined three major USDA conservation measures for America’s farmers and ranchers. First, a new 4-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Sign-up is scheduled to start May 20th and will provide landowners with a competitive opportunity to enroll their toughest-to-farm, environmentally sensitive acres in CRP for the benefit of wildlife, water quality and soils. The last general signup occurred during the spring of 2012, in which nearly 4.5 million acres were offered and 3.9 million of those acres were enrolled in the program.
Second, Secretary Vilsack announced there will be a review of soil rental rates in an effort to keep CRP competitive with current near-record commodity-driven land prices. And third, Secretary Vilsack announced plans to reopen enrollment for Continuous CRP acreage made possible by the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill through 2013. The reopening of Continuous CRP makes available 1 million acres reallocated in 2012 to some of CRP’s most targeted and effective practices, like CP38 SAFE and CP33 Buffers.
“Under President Obama’s leadership, USDA has worked with a record number of farmers, ranchers and landowners – more than 500,000 across the nation – to achieve record benefits in soil and water conservation,” said Secretary Vilsack. “By ensuring that CRP remains strong, vibrant and an economically viable option for producers, we can ensure impactful conservation efforts in the years to come – including healthy wildlife habitat in every corner of our nation.”
“We absolutely needed these tools to be delivered now. Considering the massive habitat losses experienced as a result of last summer’s drought and the fact producers are planning their spring plantings right now, this was a critical announcement for farmers, hunters and conservationists,” says Dave Nomsen, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever’s vice-president of governmental affairs. “Of particular importance today was mention of the soil rental rates review. Improving CRP’s financial viability is critical to making this program successful for our farmer friends.”
The Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land. Through CRP, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Land can be enrolled on a continuous basis for a period of 10 years. Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this sign-up provided all eligibility requirements are met.
Landowners interested in learning more about the upcoming general signup, review of soil rental rates or the continuous CRP acres available, are asked to contact a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill wildlife biologist. For additional inquiries, please contact Dave Nomsen, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever vice-president of governmental affairs at (320) 834-3076 or email Dave.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.
Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 RNana@quailforever.org