USDA Issues $1.8 Billion in Conservation Reserve Payments

Program will distribute rental payments to 425,000 farms.

Starting immediately, USDA will issue $1.8 billion in Conservation Reserve Program rental payments to producers holding about 739,000 contracts on 425,000 farms, says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

Current enrollment in CRP stands at more than 36 million acres, making it the largest public-private partnership for conservation and wildlife habitat in the U.S. The 2007 payments come out to averages of $4,143 per farm and $48.88 per acre.

The contracts are divided into CRP's continuous sign-up (331,000 contracts, 3.6 million acres) and general sign-up (408,00 contracts, 32.4 million acres). The voluntary program helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land by improving water quality, controlling soil erosion and enhancing habitats for wildlife. CRP contract duration runs from to 15 years.

"The Conservation Reserve Program works to conserve and preserve the soil, water and wildlife resources of our nation," says Johanns. "These payments represent an investment in the nation's land that will pay dividends in the form of a cleaner environment today and for future generations."

The announcement does not include rental payments for 1 million acres recently enrolled under CRP general sign-up 33, held from March 27 to April 28, 2006. Rental payments for this spring's general sign-up acreage will be issued starting in October 2007.

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