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CRP Historic 26-Year-Low Acreage Totals

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. It was also announced that 370,000 acres are being enrolled in the Continuous CRP, which is a larger number than expected considering the lack of a Farm Bill extension, meaning the signups only opened in May. The total acreage for the CRP is now 26.9 million acres, 14.7 million less than in 2007 when the enrollment benchmark sat at 30 million acres. The loss of this acreage brings the program to a 26-year low, and is being hailed as a modern low point for conservation by Pheasants Forever.

"While we thank USDA for recognizing the need for holding this CRP sign-up and applaud the landowners who are participating in conservation, this news of CRP's historic low acre total makes it even more apparent there are grave concerns for the health of CRP, our nation's most successful conservation program responsible for countless benefits to water quality, soil resources and wildlife," said Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever vice-president of governmental affairs.

"These recent CRP losses combined with an agricultural climate rampant with conversion of native prairies and wetlands, bulldozing and burning of shelterbelts, woodlots, and dry wetlands - is having a catastrophic impact on our landscape," said Nomsen. "In the aftermath of this announcement, the American people need to recognize what is taking place on their countryside, especially across much of the northern Great Plains. This is not for just the health of pheasant, quail and other wildlife. At stake is a high quality of life in rural areas, loss of America's hunting tradition, and environmental benefits important to a sustainable agriculture system."

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