July 11, 2014

Conservation reserve sign up deadline extended

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for enrolling farmland in a conservation program that’s popular with environmental and wildlife enthusiasts. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays farmers for not planting row crops on environmentally sensitive land.

But, booming corn and soybean markets have farmers looking for every available crop acre at a time when 10 and 15 year contracts on thousands of Iowa CRP acres are expiring. Iowa Farm Agency Executive Director John Whitaker says the sign-up for re-enrolling in the program was set to expire Friday.

“That was scheduled to end, that general sign-up, on April 6. We’ve now extended it, due to the strong interest, until April 13,” Whitaker said. That strong interest for enrolling in CRP takes in the entire nation — not necessarily the Midwest’s grain belt where grassland that’s now harboring pheasants and mitigating soil erosion may soon be growing corn.