Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::


Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::

Illinois hunting and fishing

New initiatives are aimed at keeping the number of acres enrolled in CRP to 30 million acres. Photo by Chris Young.

USDA opens up 1 million additional acres in CRP

March 03, 2012 at 11:52 AM

The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a program Friday that will offer financial incentives for farmers to enroll up to 1 million new acres of grasslands and wetlands into the conservation reserve program.

The government pays farmers to idle about 30 million acres of erodible land. However, contracts on about 6.5 million acres expire Sept. 30. With high corn and soybean prices, there is concern that farmers might put more of the land into production to increase profitability.

Soybean prices, for example, surged 9.5 percent in February to close the month at $13.13 a bushel, the highest they’ve traded in five months.

The new program focuses on encouraging land to be set aside for wetlands restoration, increasing enrolled land by 200,000 acres. Grasslands enrollment increases by 700,000 acres, including land for duck nesting and upland bird habitat. The program also establishes 100,000 new acres to be set aside for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

By rolling out new programs and offering incentives, the USDA hopes to maintain the level of erodible farmland in the CRP program at the current level of about 30 million acres, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the AP in an interview.

The department also expects to see conservation programs come under close scrutiny in the budget process as cuts loom. The cost of the 1 million new acres will come from the USDA’s existing conservation budget.

“There’s recognition that we’re likely to have fewer conservation programs, but hopefully we have enough flexibility in the programs that remain to be able to meet and tailor conservation programs and projects to the individual needs of the operators and the individual needs of particular watersheds,” Vilsack said.

Setting aside land in CRP is one way to reduce erosion, which can cause farmland runoff and send chemicals into lakes and streams. The USDA estimates CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into waterways.

By idling the erodible land and planting it in grasses and other vegetation, the program also creates wildlife habitat.

Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs for the Iowa Soybean Association, said farmers must weigh their options when land comes up for renewal this September.

“Farmers will take a look at what kind of return they can get in the marketplace to bring those lands back into production,” he said.

His family owns about 150 acres in southern Iowa, where steep and rolling land is common, and might take some of it out of CRP to plant, leaving the sloping hills in grasslands. In his situation, the land might bring $140 to $150 an acre in the CRP program but could yield well over $200 an acre if planted in corn or beans.

Groups like Pheasants Forever are encouraged by the focus on additional land set aside for wildlife habitat. Many states have seen pheasant numbers fall in recent years in part due to weather patterns but also due to habitat loss, said group spokesman Dave Nomsen.

“How do you in this intensely strong agricultural economy with a 25 percent increase in land values and record high commodity prices find a place for conservation?” he said. “I think this announcement is a big step in the right direction.”

Also Friday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar planned to recommend about $30 million of the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund be spent in the prairie pothole region, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Montana. The $30 million would be about 70 percent of the conservation fund, which comes from the sale of federal duck stamps for hunting and birding.

The wetlands that serve as nesting areas for geese and ducks have shrunk as farmland expands.

The Interior Department also recommended the president’s budget include an additional $3.5 million in the Land and Water Conservation Fund for efforts in the prairies.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Comment Area Pool Rules

  1. Read our Terms of Service.
  2. You must be a member. :: Register here :: Log In
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Stay on topic.
  5. Be civil, honest and accurate.
  6. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Log In

Register as a new member

Next entry: Alan Harn has been unraveling the mysteries of Dickson Mounds for 50 years

Previous entry: Fish habitat work day planned for Lake Shelbyville

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

February 2020
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons