The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its voluntary Conservation Reserve Program. Private landowners can apply at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office through April 7.
Cropland not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered during this general enrollment period. In addition, producers with CRP contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2023, may also be eligible.
CRP acres in the state peaked 15 years ago at nearly 3.4 million acres. With just 1.1 million CRP acres across North Dakota’s rural landscape today, the availability of critical nesting and fawning habitat required by many wildlife species has fallen significantly by comparison.
USDA has implemented changes in recent years to make CRP offers more appealing to landowners. Improved rental rates and new incentives have been added to encourage more land enrollment. CRP can provide haying or grazing opportunities when certain drought conditions are met, and many practices now allow grazing to occur every other year.
“The habitat created by CRP makes it a great fit for the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program,” said Kevin Kading, private lands section leader.
Producers interested in enrolling their CRP into the PLOTS program for additional financial incentives should contact a Department private land biologist in their area.