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CRP sign-ups begin today

Pheasants Forever encourages farmers, landowners to enroll in CRP

Pheasants Forever — Aug. 30, 2004

St. Paul, Minn. —Beginning today, interested farmers and landowners may offer bids to enroll lands in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The sign-up period starts today and runs through September 24, 2004. CRP is the nation's most successful conservation program; preventing soil erosion, improving water quality, and creating wildlife habitat, while providing important financial payments to farmers and landowners.

This CRP sign-up comes on the heels of President Bush's August 4th announcement at a LeSueur, Minn. farm. As part of that announcement, President Bush reported that CRP will continue into the future and that the USDA will reach a fully-enrolled program of 39.2 million acres nationwide. Currently, CRP enrollment is at 34.8 million acres. Today's sign-up is the first step toward a fully-enrolled program and Pheasants Forever (PF) encourages interested landowners to consider offering their environmentally sensitive lands.

"CRP is Pheasants Forever's favorite program," explained Howard Vincent, PF president and CEO. "Not only has CRP been shown to improve pheasant numbers, but it has been greatly beneficial for a variety of game and non-game wildlife species, as well as helping to create cleaner waters and prevent soil erosion. As 2.5 million pheasant hunters set out this fall, many will experience the tangible and the aesthetic benefits CRP has had, and will continue to have, on our nation's landscape."

Originally established in 1985, CRP offers annual payments for 10-15 year contracts to participants who establish grass, shrub, and/or tree cover on environmentally sensitive lands. Not only have these CRP lands been shown to improve water quality, protect environmentally sensitive soils from erosion, and provide critical wildlife habitat, but CRP also helps stabilize farmer's incomes through the annual payments. In addition, CRP lands contribute at least $4.7 billion annually from hunting expenditures; much of which benefits rural communities.

Enrolling land in CRP is a competitive process. Offering only the most environmentally-sensitive acres and agreeing to plant a high-scoring cover-type benefiting wildlife are the most important decisions a landowner can make when considering the CRP bid process. PF recommends interested landowners contact their local Farm Service Agency's Service Center to learn about offering a competitive bid. To find the Service Center in your area, go to: http://oip.usda.gov/scripts/ndisapi.dll/oip_agency/index?state=us&agency=fsa.

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