WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman is reminding producers and the public that the comment period for the future direction of the Conservation Reserve Program ends Dec. 8.

CRP is a voluntary program for agricultural landowners. Under the CRP, producers can receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource- conserving covers on eligible farmland. Beginning in 2007, 16 million acres under CRP contract will expire. Another 6 million acres will follow in 2008, 4 million in 2009 and 2 million in 2010.

Among other issues, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is seeking public comment on the following topics:

  • How to manage the large acreage subject to expiring CRP contracts;
  • How to manage future CRP sign-ups and acreage;
  • How to evaluate the program’s environmental effectiveness;
  • How to better utilize information technology such as Geographic Information Systems that evaluate acreage for enrollment; and
  • How to improve CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, through partnerships that better address local environmental issues.
More detailed information on the CRP is available at local FSA offices and on FSA’s Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crpinfo.htm.

The Aug. 10 Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the CRP is available on FSA’s Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov. Comments on the issues must be received in writing by Dec. 8. Comments may be submitted in writing or electronically via the means provided in the notice.

Further information on the Federal Register notice is available from Beverly Preston, CRP Program Manager, at USDA/FSA/CEPD/STOP 0513, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, D.C., 20250-0513; telephone 202-720-9563; email: beverly_preston@wdc.usda.gov.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

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