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USDA extends signup for conservation program, re-enrollment

April 18, 2006

USDA has extended signup deadlines for the Conservation Reserve Program and special re-enrollment and extension opportunities until April 28, the executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Washington County said.

The deadline had been April 14.

"I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers to take advantage of the Conservation Reserve Program enrollment options available," Director Colleen Cashell said.

"Farmers can improve our soil, water, air and wildlife habitat resources by enrolling new cropland or re-enrolling and extending their current CRP contracts, which are due to expire in 2007."

After the signup deadline, FSA will evaluate new offers based on cost and Environmental Benefits Index factors of wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits. Offers accepted become effective Oct. 1.

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In addition, subject to a compliance review, CRP participants with contracts expiring on Sept. 30, 2007, now have until April 28 to apply for special re-enrollment or extension opportunities. Participants ranking in the EBI's top one-fifth can re-enroll their land in a new 10-year contract. For lands with restored wetlands, FSA offers a new 15-year contract.

FSA offered the second one-fifth group the opportunity for a 5-year extension; the third one-fifth a 4-year extension; the fourth one-fifth a 3-year extension; and the remaining participants, a 2-year extension.

FSA has notified those with contracts expiring in 2008-2010 of the re-enrollment and extension opportunities. The deadline to respond is June 30.

Participants enroll highly erodible and other fragile cropland in CRP through long-term contracts of 10 to 15 years.

Participants can plant grasses, trees and other vegetation. In exchange, they receive annual rental payments and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation covers.

For more information, contact the FSA office at 1260 Maryland Ave., Suite 107, Hagerstown, call Cashell at 301-797-0500, ext. 2, or visit the FSA Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crp.htm

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