USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess held a briefing Tuesday to announce numbers for the most recent sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program that ended three weeks ago.
"Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 27 producers across the country made more than 50,000 offers and those offers totaled over 4.8 million acres," Coppess said. "The Secretary is announcing that he has accepted 4.3 million of those acres into the Conservation Reserve Program. Nationwide with 4.45 million acres expiring on Sept. 30, this means the expected national CRP enrollment beginning Oct. 1, 2010 will stand at 31.2 million acres."
In order for land to be eligible for CRP general sign-up the crop had to have been cropped for four of the previous six production years from 2002-2007. The 2008 Farm Bill revised the total maximum number of acres allowed in CRP at 32 million acres nationwide.
"Our goal was to accept enough acres in this general sign-up to bring the CRP enrollment to a level that would maximize the program and still give us leeway to add some new continuous sign-up and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program acres along the way, while remaining under that statutory cap of 32 million acres," Coppess said. "So it leaves us approximately 800,000 acres that can be enrolled in continuous CRP sign-up and in CREP sign-up in fiscal year 2011."
According to FSA Deputy Administrator for Farm Program Brandon Willis most of the contracts, which will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2010 are for 10 years although some contracts for land devoted to certain conservation practices such as wildlife corridors will be for 15 years.
"We are very excited to have reached our goal and to excellent program participation in the limited amount of time we gave producers and landowners to enroll," Willis said. "FSA county offices will notify producers and work with them to ensure that all signatures are obtained so that the CRP contracts can be approved before Sept. 30, 2010."
The top three states in terms of acres enrolled were Texas, Colorado and Kansas. Coppess says while FSA doesn't have all the numbers and percentages figured yet, over the next few days and weeks further breakdowns of the date will be made and be updated at www.fsa.gov.