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Strong signup for CRP

The USDA announced Tuesday that it has accepted 4.3 million
acres that were bid into the 39th general signup for the
Conservation Reserve Program during the month of August.

The agency had more than 50,000 offers for a total of 4.8
million acres. With 4.5 million acres expiring from the program on September
30, the new signup will bring the total acres enrolled in the CRP to 31.2
million on October 1, the start of the federal fiscal year.

As was the case during the last signup four years ago, the
states with the highest enrollment were in the Great Plains, according to Farm
Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess and FSA Deputy Administrator for
Farm Programs, Brandon Willis.

Part of the reason for higher enrollment in the Great Plains
is that land offered there scored high in the Environmental Benefits Index,
Coppess said.

“Wind erosion is a very big driver of the EBI and the land
that gets accepted into the contract,” Coppess said.

The top three states in this signup were Texas, Colorado and
Kansas.

The national average rental rate was about $46 per acre,
which was lower than the average of about $53 an acre four years ago. Rates in
Corn Belt states were higher, with Iowa’s average at about $165 an acre.

More of the land enrolled this time was highly erodible, 83%
compared to 60% four years ago.

The 2008 Farm Bill limits total CRP signup to 32 million
acres. By accepting enough in the general signup to bring enrollment to 31.2
million, the USDA is leaving 800,000 acres that can be enrolled in the next
fiscal year into the continuous CRP and Conservation Reserve Enhancement
Program.

Farmers accepted into this year’s general CRP enrollment
will have until the end of this month to sign contracts, usually for ten years.
And they will have until the end of this year to have a final conservation plan
for that land.  

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