As of Monday, certain producers have the opportunity to modify and extend their Conservation Reserve Program contracts that are set to expire on Sept. 30. The modification period runs through June 30; participants were notified by a letter from USDA earlier this month.
USDA recently announced that it can only extend approximately 1.5 million acres out of a total 3.9 million acres expiring this year. This extension will ensure that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) meets the statutory CRP acreage limitation of 32 million acres established in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
Farmers and ranchers may apply for this extension at their FSA county office. FSA administers CRP on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corp. CRP contracts with the highest environmental benefit or with the highest potential for soil erosion will be selected. CRP contracts cannot exceed 15 years in the aggregate and chosen CRP contract holders will generally be offered a three to five year extension.
Producers electing to extend their contract period will receive their current contract rental rate. All or a portion of the acreage under contract may be included in an extension, but no new acreage may be added.
A general CRP signup is not scheduled during fiscal year 2009. However, producers may continue to enroll relatively small, highly-desirable acreages, including land that is not extended, into Continuous CRP. Continuous CRP includes such practices as filter strips and riparian buffers.