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Additional incentives offered during CRP sign-up

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is offering additional incentives to landowners who sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program, commonly known as CRP.

Agricultural producers and private landowners can enroll in the CRP general sign-up through Feb. 12, or continuous CRP practices until Oct. 1. The program administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation.

Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish a perennial cover, such as a stand of native grasses to help control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on marginal cropland.

Expanding grassland habitat in agricultural landscapes is a large component part of the Game and Parks’ Berggren Plan to improve pheasant hunting. A variety of additional financial incentives are being offered within eight priority areas of the state to encourage landowner participation in CRP.

John Laux, Game and Parks upland habitat and access program manager, said grasslands restored through CRP provide critical habitat for ring-necked pheasants and other grassland-dependent wildlife in Nebraska and beyond.

“CRP fields provide undisturbed cover necessary for nesting and brood-rearing that is otherwise lacking in many areas of the state,” Laux said. “CRP is unique in its ability to restore habitat at the landscape scale and is undoubtedly one of the most impactful programs of the federal farm bill.”

New land offered in the program must have been planted for four out of the six crop years from 2012-2017. Additionally, producers with land already enrolled, but expiring Sept. 30, can re-enroll this year. Fields or portions of fields offered by landowners are evaluated competitively based on soil types and other factors. CRP contracts can run for 10 to 15 years and accepted offers will begin Oct. 1.

CRP sign-up information resources, including an educational video and how to enroll for a live question-and-answer session have been posted at nebraskapf.com/crp-signup. They live sessions are Jan. 19 at noon MST, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. CST, and Jan. 21 at noon CST. Those meetings are a collaboration of Nebraska’s natural resources and wildlife partners.

Those looking to enroll may contact their nearest USDA Service Center, with meetings being scheduled by appointment.

For more information about the additional incentives being offered by Game and Parks, landowners should contact their nearest Game and Parks office or service center and ask to speak to a wildlife biologist about CRP. Offices may be found at outdoornebraska.org/locations.

Note that face coverings, pre-screenings, social distancing and other provisions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may be required.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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