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Conservation Program Offers Alternative

Landowners in some states will have a new CRP option focusing on wildlife.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency program State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, or SAFE, is a new option in the Conservation reserve program that will deal mostly with small acreages.

"Under SAFE a landowner would enroll to establish certain conservation practices for the benefit of targeted species of wildlife," FSA's John Johnson says. "Then they would have a CRP contract for 10 to 15 years and receive rental payments for each of those years in addition to their cost share and signing incentive payment and practice incentive payment as well."

So landowners would be getting a premium over regular CRP. It will be a continuous sign-up, but it's not available just yet.

"We are in the process of developing software that will be used to sign up producers who want to enroll in CRP using SAFE," Johnson says. "We expect to have that software out to the field in early March. Once that is there states and counties will announce their local sign-up."

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