The Roundup -

Declining Non-Game Wildlife Population Generates New CRP Program in North Dakota

 


North Dakota farmers currently have the opportunity to enroll acreage in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) popular Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through an initiative that focuses specifically on wildlife – State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE).

The USDA-FSA SAFE initiative is a voluntary program available as part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to address species of special concern. SAFE allows states to design CRP practices that maintain the program’s hallmark soil and water conservation benefits while targeting specific wildlife species. The programs goal is to increase the availability of prairie habitat for breeding grassland birds with declining population trends in North Dakota.

Because of continued upland habitat loss, the nationwide SAFE allocation is more than 2.3 million acres with more than 750,000 acres currently available nationwide to landowners for enrollment — of which, 40,000 acres have been earmarked for North Dakota under this SAFE project. North Dakota has five SAFE projects accepting offers, with more than 203,000 acres allocated to these projects, and nearly 158,000 acres currently enrolled in SAFE CRP contracts.

“The North Dakota CRP Declining Grassland Birds SAFE project is open for enrollment and will remain open until allocations are exhausted,” said Brian Haugen, Acting State Executive Director for the North Dakota Farm Service Agency. “If landowners have qualifying land, enrolling acres in the Declining Grassland Birds SAFE initiative is something they may want to consider.”

The following three specific CRP conservation practices are available under the Declining Grassland Birds SAFE- CP38E initiative; CP2, Permanent Native Grasses; CP4D, Permanent Wildlife Habitat; and CP25, and Rare and Declining Habitat. The benefit of the proposed SAFE project is a unique conservation effort to cater to habitat suitability for declining non-game species while providing an additional program to producers who have not qualified for other SAFE projects.

To be eligible under continuous signup practices, land must be in a SAFE project area and meet basic CRP eligibility requirements. Eligible land is cropland that was planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity during four of the six years from 2008 to 2013. The land must be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity and the offer must consist of at least 100 acres of contiguous land.

The project area for Declining Grassland Birds SAFE is as follows: all of Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Grant, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, McKenzie, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux, Slope, Stark and Williams counties, and portions of Burke, Dickey, Divide, Foster, LaMoure, McHenry, McLean, Mountrail, Sheridan, Stutsman, Ward and Wells counties.

For more information on CRP and the determination of individual eligibility requirements for the initiative, landowners should check with their local FSA office, http://offices.usda.gov. To find out more about FSA conservation programs, payments and to find out if you are in an eligible project area for the ND SAFE initiative, visit; http://www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.

 

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