More than 300,000 acres accepted in Grasslands Conservation Reserve Program
According to an Idaho Farm Bureau release, the transition will protect working grasslands and aid dairy, beef and other ranchers and farmers. The transfer is part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment which focuses on small-scale livestock operations.
Through the voluntary program, grasslands at risk of being developed or converted to row crop farming continue to be livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits. Approximately 200,000 of the accepted acres were offered by small-scale livestock operations, the release said.
“Producers of all sizes are interested in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program," USDA/FSA Administrator Val Dolcini said in the release. "This latest round of CRP Grasslands enrollment, where much of the acreage comes from small-scale livestock operations, shows that our nation’s family farmers and ranchers can have a big impact on environmental conservation.”
CRP Grasslands establish and/ or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. The acreage may be used for livestock production, such as producing hay or grazing, while the conservation and grazing plans that allow them to maintain the cover, the release said.
One of the CRP Grasslands program’s goals is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the land’s grazing value and up to 50 percent of cover practices costs, such as cross-fencing which supports rotational grazing or pasture cover improvement to benefit bees and other pollinators as well as wildlife.