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ENVIRO-NEWS  January 1998

ENVIRO-NEWS January 1998

Subject:

USDA Accepts 5.9 Million Acres...

From:

Joseph Makuch <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 30 Jan 1998 08:45:36 -0500 (EST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

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Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (180 lines)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 08:31:52 -0800
Forwarded from
http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/1998/01/0043

> USDA Accepts 5.9 Million Acres Into the Conservation Reserve Program
> 
> Release No. 0043.98
> 
>                                     Tom Amontree (202) 720-4623
>                                           [log in to unmask]
>                                        Dann Stuart(202)690-0474
>                                       [log in to unmask]
> 
> USDA ACCEPTS 5.9 MILLION ACRES INTO THE CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM
> 
>      OLYMPIA, WA, Jan. 29, 1998--Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman
> announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will accept 5.9
> million acres of environmentally sensitive farmland into the Conservation
> Reserve Program (CRP).
> 
>      "Once again USDA has maintained its goal of enrolling the most
> environmentally sensitive land, keeping productive farmland in production,
> and being fair to taxpayers in providing the most environmental bang for the
> buck. "
> 
>      "The 5.9 million acres we are accepting today will result in a 13
> percent increase in environmental benefits compared to the acres accepted in
> the 15th sign-up and these acres have double the average environmental
> benefits of the program from one year ago," Glickman said.  "While
> increasing the amount of environmentally sensitive land in the CRP, we will
> also be paying about $4.50 per acre less than the historic average, saving
> $261 million over the life of the program, in addition to the $1.6 billion
> saved by the lower rental rates of sign-up 15."
> 
>      The environmental benefits of the 5.9 million acres accepted are
> significant due to a combination of factors, including producer willingness
> to plant vegetation on their land that provides better wildlife benefits;
> the restoration of more than 300,000 acres of wetlands and protective upland
> areas and 57,000 acres of rare and declining habitat; the enrollment of over
> 3 million acres in conservation priority areas; and 150,000 acres of trees.
> 
>      Glickman noted that 31 percent of this land is acreage subject to
> current CRP contracts due to expire on September 30, 1998.  "Much of this
> acreage is already controlling soil erosion and, as a result of  the 16th
> sign-up, will be improved to offer greater wildlife and other environmental
> benefits."
> 
>      "We continue to be impressed by landowners and producers' willingness
> to make their CRP offers as environmentally beneficial as possible,"
> Glickman said.  "Their cooperation, the hard work of USDA's employees and
> our state and local partners are what is making this program a huge success
> for the American people and our environment."
> 
>      The Environmental Benefits Index (EBI), which ranks CRP offers based
> on six environmental factors and a cost factor, was changed for this sign-up
> to address air quality, wildlife benefits, and reflect the diversity of the
> land offered for CRP.  In addition, the EBI now awards additional points to
> those who offer land at less than the maximum payment rate and places
> greater weight on environmental factors.
> 
>      For the 16th sign-up, CRP offers with an EBI score of 247 or greater
> will be accepted into the program.  This EBI threshold is lower than that
> for the 15th sign-up because USDA applied a cost factor of 150 points rather
> than the 200 used in the 15th sign-up.  Applying 150 points reduced the
> weight of the per acre rental cost, resulting in a greater emphasis on
> enrolling particularly sensitive lands.  The 247 point threshold roughly
> equals 273 points under the EBI  used for sign-up 15.
> 
>      "After the 15th sign-up, producers in areas with higher land rental
> rates were concerned that very environmentally sensitive lands were not
> accepted because of their higher costs," Glickman said.  "In evaluating
> sign-up 16 offers, we determined that we could accept more sensitive land in
> these areas with only a slight increase in overall per acre rental cost.  We
> were very pleased with the environmental benefits gained; for instance, 40
> percent of the acreage accepted as a result of this change are very
> susceptible to erosion, having an erosion index of 15 or greater."
> 
>      As with sign-up 15, the regional distribution of acreage in the CRP
> remains stable while environmental benefits increase. Retiring this land
> will not have a significant effect on commodity prices, farm income, or the
> United States' ability to supply world markets with agricultural products.
> 
>      The new enrollment will bring the total acres in the CRP to 29.9
> million acres on October 1, 1998.  This compares to 28.7 million acres
> currently enrolled of which 4.8 million are subject to contracts that will
> expire September 30, 1998.  The statutory maximum number of acres that can
> be enrolled in the program at any one time is 36.4 million.  Landowners
> offered 9.5 million acres during the 16th sign up.  USDA's Farm Service
> Agency (FSA) will immediately begin to notify farmers and ranchers of USDA's
> decisions regarding their CRP offers.
> 
>      Glickman said that USDA is likely to hold another general CRP sign-up
> during the fall of 1998.  He urged farmers and ranchers to look into the
> CRP's Continuous Sign-Up option to enroll special conservation practices
> that yield high environmental benefits.  Eligible practices include riparian
> buffers, field windbreaks, and grass waterways.  Producers may submit offers
> under the Continuous Sign-Up option throughout the year at local USDA
> service centers.
> 
>      The CRP is an effective, voluntary approach to improving the
> environment utilizing partnerships between individuals and the government.
> Landowners and operators establish long-term conservation practices on
> erodible and environmentally sensitive land in exchange for 10-15 years of
> annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for adopting and
> maintaining those practices.  Contracts between USDA and landowners
> establish the rental rates and cost share assistance to be paid over life of
> the contracts.
> 
>      Additional CRP information can be obtained from the FSA CRP
> information  page on the Internet at
> <www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crpinfo.htm>.
> 
>                       SIGNUP 16         TOTAL
>                          OFFERS      APPROVED
> STATE                   (ACRES)     SIGNUP 16
> ALABAMA                 145,287        81,227
> ALASKA                      138             0
> ARKANSAS                 41,350        12,058
> CALIFORNIA               17,142        15,111
> COLORADO                506,190       362,645
> CONNECTICUT                 102            72
> DELAWARE                    472           404
> FLORIDA                  15,699         6,655
> GEORGIA                 102,910        27,016
> IDAHO                    84,087        63,299
> ILLINOIS                203,016       133,750
> INDIANA                  91,298        46,440
> IOWA                    446,461       341,234
> KANSAS                  544,927       369,317
> KENTUCKY                 76,553        49,468
> LOUISIANA                45,212        30,421
> MAINE                     9,052         4,423
> MARYLAND                  3,653         2,103
> MASSACHUSETTS               247            15
> MICHIGAN                 70,798        50,408
> MINNESOTA               519,989       455,178
> MISSISSIPPI             142,403        89,364
> MISSOURI                295,309       178,760
> MONTANA               1,079,134       739,920
> NEBRASKA                316,489       178,315
> NEVADA                      597           544
> NEW JERSEY                1,603           951
> NEW MEXICO               12,573         9,992
> NEW YORK                 12,847        11,293
> NORTH CAROLINA           28,541        13,499
> NORTH DAKOTA          1,144,009       549,908
> OHIO                     65,734        33,976
> OKLAHOMA                341,323       136,122
> OREGON                   82,945        60,135
> PENNSYLVANIA             16,021        14,850
> PUERTO RICO                 370           363
> SOUTH CAROLINA           61,660        23,874
> SOUTH DAKOTA            616,273       154,506
> TENNESSEE                73,965        31,495
> TEXAS                 1,397,676       944,792
> UTAH                     53,952        40,155
> VIRGINIA                 18,996         8,132
> WASHINGTON              591,217       483,918
> WEST VIRGINIA               263           120
> WISCONSIN               169,005       138,140
> WYOMING                  57,342        30,005
> _____________________________________________
> U.S.                  9,504,835     5,924,375
> 
> NOTE: Farm Service Agency (FSA) news releases and media advisories are
> available on the World Wide Web at FSA's Home Page: http://www.fsa.usda.gov
> 
>                                 #


http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/1998/01/0043


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