Farmers and ranchers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts have until this Friday (August 23) to re-enroll in certain continuous sign-up practices or, if eligible, select a one-year contract extension.
CRP is one of the country’s largest conservation programs and run through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Officials say they’ll also be accepting offers from landowners who want to enroll for the first time.
This year’s CRP continuous sign-up practices include grass waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others.
CRP contracts for these practices last for 10 to 15 years, with soil rental rates set at 90% of the 2018 rates.
Incentive payments are not offered for these practices.
Sign-ups are also open for the FSA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which helps certain crop and livestock producers who suffer from economic damages resulting from trade wars with foreign nations.
That sign-up period runs through December 6.
Through MFP, USDA will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to impacted producers, part of a broader trade relief package announced late last month.
Payments will be made to producers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops as well as dairy and hog producers:
MFP payments will be made to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
Payments are based on a single county payment rate, which is multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019.
Per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and a producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.
Dairy and Hogs
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.
MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.
More Information from the USDA
Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.
MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. They’re also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers.
No applicant can receive more than $500,000.
Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017 of less than $900,000, or 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s average AGI for those tax years must have been derived from farming and ranching. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
More information can be found on farmers.gov/mfp, including payment information and a program application.