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The New, Improved CRP

“Laws change; people die; the land remains.” – Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States. 

Farmers, I am one of you. I am a landowner. I manage our nearly 150 year-old family farm here in southeastern Nebraska. No, I am not some crazy, wild conservationist just because I work for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. I am a crazy, wild conservationist because I am a progressive Nebraska landowner who has farmed his best ground and conserved the rest of it.

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Over the years I have gained much knowledge about agriculture and conservation. They can go hand in hand. A farm should be looked at like a financial investment. You don’t put all of your money into one fund. You diversify. And, that’s what I have done with our hilly, highly erodible farmland. I am proud to say that I have enrolled all of our eligible acres in various aspects of the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

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I’m sure you know what the CRP is, don’t you? A farmer receives an annual rental payment and cost-share assistance to establish vegetative cover on eligible environmentally sensitive farmland for a period of 10 to 15 years. That’s a simple as I can define it.

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Now, the good news here about the program is this. Things have changed for the better. Whether it’s continuous sign-up or the upcoming general CRP sign-up period beginning December 1st of this year, you will find welcome improvements and additions that have been made. Among them, are increased soil rental rates, newer incentives, more options than ever before for pollinator habitat, existing grasslands, public access, etc., new quail and pheasant habitat initiatives in certain areas, rule changes regarding buffers and center pivot corners, and even more trusted Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists to provide you with technical assistance!

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The Conservation Reserve Program has greatly enhanced water quality, reduced soil erosion, and increased habitat for a number of wildlife species. The benefits of the CRP are indeed legendary! Learn more about what the CRP has meant for our country by viewing the video below.

For online information about CRP, visit this link or contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. To find your local FSA office, go here.

For specific contacts to develop a customized conservation program for your land, and to see 2015 CRP Soil Rental Rates by county, click here.

Remember, if you build it, or have it, they will come!

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About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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