Top Tips for CRP Enrollment
As of Monday, there is another way for landowners and producers to implement habitat on the ground that will benefit pheasants, quail, and a wide variety of other wildlife species in North America. The new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup is now upon us for the first time in four years. The general signup will take place from August 2nd to August 27th, and will rank contracts based on a variety of environmental benefits. Factors that affect the Environmental Benefit Index (EBI) are many and have been slightly tweaked since the previous general signup. The factors are as follows:
- Wildlife Habitat Cover Benefits
- Water Quality Benefits
- On-Farm Benefits of Reduced Erosion
- Enduring Benefits
- Air Quality Benefits
The total points from these factors equal your EBI score. Now let’s break down how to receive maximum points for each category, starting with Wildlife Habitat Cover Benefits.
To reach the most points for this category, consider planting a mix of native grasses and forbs (flowering plants like purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, blue aster, western yarrow, etc.). You will also receive points for planting introduced grasses and forbs, but not as many as the native species. You may receive additional points for placing a water development (in water limited areas) on the property, converting a monoculture to mixed species, establishing a food plot, or planting pollinator habitat. You may only choose one of these incentives under Wildlife Habitat Cover Benefits.
You have no play in Water Quality Benefits, On-Farm Benefits of Reduced Erosion, and Air Quality Benefits as these factors depend on where your property is in your state and these are pre-determined factors.
You may gain additional points under enduring benefits by planting a minimum of eight native grasses and seven native forbs, and this expands on the Wildlife Habitat Cover Benefits for additional points as well.
Finally, you may receive an additional 25 points by offering less than the maximum payment rate as determined by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
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