Signup will begin on March 14 and continue through April 15 for the Conservation Reserve Program.
"Over the past 25 years, support for CRP has grown, thanks to strong backing from farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts," said Scherrie Giamanco, Illinois Farm Service executive director. "Not only has CRP contributed to the national effort to improve water and air quality, it has preserved habitat for wildlife, and prevented soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas – including those prone to flash flooding and runoff."
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 for a period of up to 15 years.
During the signup period, farmers may offer eligible land at their county FSA office. Land currently not in CRP may be offered, providing that all eligibility requirements are met. Current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this signup period are scheduled to become effective on Oct. 1.
FSA will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an environmental benefits index that shows the environmental benefits to be gained by enrolling the land in the program. That index considers wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits.