ALEXANDRIA, La. (KNOE) – Applications for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (Grassland CRP) are open for agricultural producers and private landowners seeking to preserve grasslands and provide conservation benefits for wildlife, soil health and carbon sequestration while continuing most grazing and haying practices.

The Grassland CRP, offered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, is a part of the larger CRP that was signed into law in 1985. The CRP was written to control soil erosion as well as stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production, but it has since grown to include many other conservation and economic benefits.

“Grassland CRP is a vital conservation tool that supports two of USDA’s top priorities: the wellbeing of American agriculture and the health of America’s grasslands, which provide critical environmental benefits for wildlife and carbon sequestration,” said Ronald Guidry, Jr., FSA State Executive Director in Louisiana.

In 2023, more than 2.3 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners were accepted into the Grassland CRP. There are currently 8.64 million acres overall involved in the program.

“Over the past three years, we have seen historic interest in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program with producers signing up to conserve over 6.8 million acres,” Guidry, Jr., said. “This historic interest from agriculture has proven that agricultural productivity and conservation priorities are not exclusive from one another, but can coexist and, more importantly, complement and enhance one another.”

President Joe Biden signed the Further Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act into law on Nov. 16, 2023. This law generally extended the 2018 Farm Bill through Sept. 30, 2024, which allows authorized programs such as the CRP to continue operating.

Landowners and producers interested in CRP can contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the June 28, 2024 deadline.

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