Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill make it easier to enroll land in the Wetlands Reserve Program, says Eric Banks, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Salina.
Landowners who want to enroll in WRP have until Dec. 15 to submit an application for the next round of funding.
Banks said the "yellow book" appraisal process used in 2006-07 is being replaced. It paid the difference between the appraised site value before placement of an easement and the value after an easement.
Many landowners who might have participated in the program thought the government's easement purchase offer was too low based on that process. Now WRP offers will be based on the highest and best use of the land and established geographical area rate caps.
Other changes in the WRP program are going into effect as well.
Landowners will be required to own the land for seven years before it becomes eligible.
A lump sum payment for easements over $500,000 will be eliminated.
Annual cost-share payments for restoration will be limited to $50,000.
The program will be available only to private landowners.
To sign up or re-apply for WRP, contact the NRCS office in your county. More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp.