June 14, 2012

CRP: net loss of 90,000 acres in Nebraska

A CRP field.  Photo available on-line: Nebraskaland magazine.
Today, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission posted the following note on their Facebook page. It demonstrates the current crisis in conservation, related to Conservation Reserve Program acres under contract. Bottom line: the landscape is changing in big chunks.

Although NGPC led with the positive (almost 1300 contracts in Nebraska were submitted as applications), the net gain is negative. Watch for effects of landscape change in the near future.

"Outdoorsmen and women rely heavily on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to provide habitat for game species, as well as places to hunt. A better than expected general CRP sign-up will help keep most of those places intact. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 104,298 acres in Nebraska offered under the 43rd CRP general sign-up.

"The USDA received 1,385 offers in Nebraska, of which 1,249 were accepted. There were 113,911 acres offered. In Nebraska, 201,190 CRP acres will expire Sept. 30, representing a net loss of 96,892 acres.

"Nationally, 3.9 million acres will be accepted.

"Without CRP, many game and nongame species would have been displaced or lost. CRP has benefited the nation for more than 25 years in the form of wildlife habitat, hunting and outdoor recreation opportunities and reduced soil erosion off these sensitive acres.

"There are many programs within CRP, both old and new, targeting wildlife habitat, wetland conservation and soil/water quality for landowners who are interested in enrolling. Producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency office for more information."

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