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USDA to offer CRP contract extensions

You have until May 31 to apply

Conservation Reserve Program contracts expiring this year may be extended for another year. Participants with contracts expiring on Sept. 30, 2002, have from Jan. 14 to May 31 to apply for the one-year extension. Some 2,774 Missouri contracts are affected, according to Tim Kelley, state executive director.

“The expiration affects about 171,000 rural acres now protected by the CRP. This action will help ensure the continued safeguarding of this sensitive land as a new farm bill is developed,” said Kelley.

Local offices of USDA’s Farm Service Agency are currently notifying eligible CRP participants of their option to modify and extend their CRP contracts. The deadline to apply for an extension is May 31.

The extension option applies to CRP participants with contracts scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2002. The original contract with extension must not exceed 15 years.

Kelley said the extension would not change participants’ rental rates. All or a portion of the acreage currently under contract may be included in an extension, but no new acreage may be added. Obligations and responsibilities under the original contract continue to apply to contacts that are modified and extended.

USDA is not planning to offer a general CRP signup in fiscal year 2002, according to Kelley. However, he said producers may continue to enroll relatively small, highly-desirable acreage, such as filter strips and riparian buffers, in the continuous CRP at any time at their local FSA office.

Producers enrolled in CRP receive rental payments and other financial incentives to remove lands from agricultural production for a period of 10 to 15 years. CRP participants plant native grasses, trees, and other vegetation to improve water quality, soil, and wildlife habitat.

Missouri producers have over 29,500 CRP contracts covering about 1.5 million acres. Nationally about 34 million acres are currently enrolled in CRP.

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