Deadline nearing to sign up for Conservation Reserve Program

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:09 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Today is day 2 of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days at Huntsinger Farms in Eau Claire County. An unofficial crowd estimate was in the 15,000 people range as Governor Tony Evers and State Agriculture Secretary Randy Romanski both attended on day 1. Over 500 exhibitors also are on hand from 26 states. Show hours again today and tomorrow will be from 9 ‘til 4.

This Friday, July 23rd, is the final day for eligible producers to sign up for participation in the Conservation Reserve Program. The farm Service Agency, which runs the program, has made several changes to the program to make it more appealing to landowners, including making the program more available to landowners who have been traditionally under served by government programs, as well as to beginning farmers and veterans. The agency has also increased rental rates for many practices to make the program more attractive. CRP was signed into law in 1985 and is now one of the world’s largest voluntary conservation programs.

Crops in this area are looking good but to the west in Minnesota and the Dakotas it’s another story. Crops in parts of those states are suffering so badly from the ongoing drought that farmers are destroying some crops because they’re burning up and won’t yield any crop at all this fall. In Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to allow emergency haying and grazing on eligible CRP acres. Walz said they have to prepare for the worst case scenario as this year is setting up to be worse than 2012 or even 1988 in some parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Walz has also convened a state drought task force for the first time in a decade.

Last week the USDA announced a program to financially help livestock producers who had to dispose of animals before they could get to market because of processing plant shut downs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This week USDA officials have announced financial help is coming for timber harvesters and haulers who also suffered losses from the pandemic. It’s a $200 million and timber harvesters and haulers that can show losses of at least 10% in 2020 are eligible to apply for the aid starting tomorrow and running through October 15th at county farm Service Agency offices.

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