Agriculture Note

September 19, 2004

Conservation Reserve Program deadline near

Farmers and landowners are reminded that Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up ends Friday at local U.S. Department of Agriculture service centers.

Participants with CRP contracts expiring this year and next can make new contract offers and renew their participation in the program.

The CRP is designed to improve the nation's natural resource base. Participants voluntarily enter into contracts with USDA to enroll erodible and other environmentally sensitive land in contracts for 10 to 15 years.

In exchange, participants receive annual rental fees and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation practices.

USDA will continue to evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index. Decisions on the index cutoff will be made after this CRP sign-up ends.

In addition to general sign-up, producers may enroll the most environmentally sensitive land under CRP's continuous sign-up program. Under the continuous sign-up, relatively small areas of land serving to protect much larger areas, such as filter strips, riparian buffers, and grass waterways, may be enrolled at any time.

Information: Carroll County Farm Service Agency, 410-848- 2780.

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