Beginning Sept. 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to help conserve working grasslands, rangeland and pastureland while maintaining the areas as livestock grazing lands.
The initiative is part of the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program, a federally funded program that for 30 years has assisted agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.
The initiative will provide participants who establish long-term, resource-conserving covers with annual rental payments up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land. Cost-share assistance also is available for up to 50 percent of the covers and other practices, such as cross fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. Participants may still conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow, harvest for seed production, conduct fire rehabilitation, and construct firebreaks and fences.
Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 1. The ranking period will occur at least once per year and be announced at least 30 days before its start. The end of the first ranking period will be Nov. 20.
For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp. To locate an agency office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.