MACD News Blog

Landowners Encouraged to Sign Up for Conservation Reserve Program

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Agricultural producers, operators and landowners are encouraged to take advantage of the current open general sign up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Sign up began on March 14, 2011, and continues through April 15, 2011.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest private lands conservation program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program is made available through the Farm Bill and encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland to resource-conserving vegetative cover.

Lori Phalen, Executive Director of Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD), encourages those interested to contact their Conservation District today for assistance and more information. "CRP helps agricultural producers convert environmentally sensitive agricultural land to achieve conservation benefits including protecting water quality and reducing soil erosion."

Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this sign up provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this sign up are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1, 2011.

To be eligible for CRP, the producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to the close of the CRP sign up - April 15, 2011. Land must be cropland which has been planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2002- 2007, and which is physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity. Alfalfa and other multiyear grasses and legumes grown in a rotation not to exceed 12 years may be eligible for this year.

Benefits to CRP include:
- improved and increased wildlife habitat
- improved water quality
- increased soil quality
- reduced soil erosion
- increased air quality

In return for planting long-term resource conserving covers, the Farm Service Agency, (FSA) provides CRP participants annual rental payments, maintenance payments, cost-share and technical assistance.

"The CRP program has been a very successful one in Michigan and we are very pleased with this general sign up opportunity. I encourage interested producers and landowners to contact their local Conservation District and USDA Service Center to learn more about the program," said Phalen, "This is an exciting opportunity for landowners, one that will reap many environmental benefits for Michigan."

Don't miss this opportunity! Contact your local Conservation District or USDA Service Center for more information or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp or visit the farm bill page.

Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD), a non-profit organization that represents the interests of Michigan Conservation Districts and works to strengthen Districts through leadership, information and representation at the state Conservation Districts are the local providers of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.

Benzie CD to be at Benzie Water Festival

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Benzie Conservation District will take part in the Benzie Water Festival scheduled for March 18, 19 and 20 in Benzie, Michigan.

Join Carol Navaro of the Benzie Conservation District, on Saturday at 3 pm at the Frankfort Elementary School for a program on Rain Gardens.  To learn more about the festival visit: http://water-festival.org/

NACD Recent Guest on AgriTalk

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The National Association of Conservation Districts President, Gene Schmidt was a guest on the Tuesday's AgriTalk program to talk about conservation funding in the FY11 budget. The interview is available at by clicking here (on the second half of the show, around the 29:30 mark)

Michigan Conservation Districts Participate in Grand Vision Community Conversation

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Conservation Districts will take part in the Natural Resources Network of the Grand Vision event on February 23rd from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at the Oleson Center in Traverse City.  The even will feature a panel discussion and a community conversation to discuss how the region's natural resource help drive the region's prosperity.  Learn More