INDIANAPOLIS -- USDA Farm Service Agency in Indiana Executive Director Julia A. Wickard recently announced United States Agriculture Secretary Tim Vilsack has set a general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to begin March 14, and continue through April 15.
During the signup period, farmers may offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general signup at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under the signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1.
To help ensure that interested farmers are aware of the signup period, USDA has signed partnership agreements with several conservation and wildlife organizations that will all play an active role in USDA's 2011 CRP outreach efforts.
FSA, which administers the CRP, will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that shows the environmental benefits to be gained from enrolling the land in CRP.
The EBI consists of five environmental factors (wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits) and cost. Decisions on the EBI cutoff will be made after the signup ends and after analyzing the EBI data of all the offers.
In addition to the general signup, CRP's continuous signup program will be ongoing.