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Photo of pasture with a fence running down the middle of it.
Pastures enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program help improve water quality, mitigate soil erosion and reduce the loss of wildlife habitat.

Producers may benefit from CRP Grasslands signup

Monday, July 19, 2021

Media Contact: Donald Stotts | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-4079 | donald.stotts@okstate.edu

Agricultural producers could benefit from enrollment in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands with improved pasture management and operations.

Producers can apply through Aug. 20. This year, the USDA updated signup options to provide greater incentives and increase the program’s conservation and climate benefits, including setting a minimum rental rate and identifying two priority zones. The CRP Grasslands minimum rental rate is $15 per acre, which matches the average rental rate of pastures in Oklahoma.

"The Oklahoma Panhandle, parts of the Texas Panhandle, western Kansas, eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico are in a priority zone,” said Amy Hagerman, Oklahoma State University Extension agricultural and food policy specialist. “Being in a priority zone means landowners may get an extra $5 per acre on the rental rates for CRP Grasslands contracts, making the program a particularly viable consideration in 2021.”

Hagerman recently provided additional insights about CRP Grasslands signup on the agricultural television show SUNUP.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency administers CRP Grasslands participation. OSU Extension recommends producers contact their county FSA service center for assistance.

Program enrollment involves the following:

  • Local FSA officials will help the producer fill out an application requesting participation.
  • Applications will be ranked according to factors specifically associated with the land designated.
  • If accepted, the applicant will receive a contract that will include expected conservation practices.
  • The producer can then decide on whether to enroll in CRP Grasslands.

“Your local FSA office will be happy to help,” said Rusty Humphrey, Kay County FSA executive director. “We will check the land and producer eligibility. CRP Grasslands signup is competitive. Points will be awarded similar to CRP General signup.”

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. According to USDA, the program has prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, enough to fill 600 million dump trucks. It’s also sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road.

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