JEFFERSON CITY Mo -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up Aug. 2-27.
In response, Quail Forever, with the support of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), will host a series of landowner informational meetings Aug. 9 - 19. Meetings will begin at either 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Directions can be found at http://www.showmequail.org/
The meetings will help answer landowner questions about how to improve enrollment chances and wildlife values in CRP. Biologists from Quail Forever and the Missouri Department of Conservation, along with local Farm Services Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff, will be on hand to provide a brief presentation and then answer questions.
Meetings locations, dates and times are:
• Columbia, University of Missouri Bradford Farm, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.
• St. Louis, Powder Valley Nature Center, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.
• Kirksville, MDC Northeast Regional Office, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.
• Cameron, Cameron Community Building, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.
• Cass County, location to be determined (see website), Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.
• Cape Girardeau, MDC Nature Center, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.
• Dexter, USDA Office, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.
The new CRP general sign-up arrives in time to address the 4.4 million acres of CRP expiring on Sept. 30. It is also representative of USDA's ongoing action to maximize the wildlife habitat and environmental benefits created over the program's 25-year history.
The new CRP general sign-up will be the first since 2006. Landowner demand is expected to be strong, especially considering the USDA has updated soil rental rates since that last general sign-up.
“The sign-up and selection process are going to be very competitive,” according to FSA Program Director Gerald Hrdina. “We are providing this service to help landowners learn as much as they can about their options before they go into the FSA county office.”
As in past CRP general sign-ups, USDA will score offers using the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). This formula-driven system evaluates each tract of land according to its environmental values and challenges and how the landowner chooses to offer it into the program.
According to Quail Forever Regional Biologist Elsa Gallagher, there are only a few things landowners can offer that will increase their EBI scores.
“The landowner informational meetings are designed to specifically address what landowners can change in their offers. Some of those adjustable factors are very important for wildlife,” explained Gallagher. “More and better CRP means more quail and other wildlife too, which is why we work so hard for this program and for producers.”
Those interested in participating should plan to attend the meeting closest to them. There is no charge for participating and there is no need to register. More information and directions can be found online at www.showmequail.org.
Those interested in participating should plan to attend the meeting closest to them. There is no charge for participating and there is no need to register. More information and directions can be found online at http://www.showmequail.org/