INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 22, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard today announced that an additional 20,150 acres of agricultural land in Indiana is eligible for funding for wildlife habitat restoration.

USDA Accepting More Farmland for Wildlife Habitat in Indiana

Contact:
Donna Ferguson (317) 290-3315
donna.ferguson@in.usda.gov

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 22, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard today announced that an additional 20,150 acres of agricultural land in Indiana is eligible for funding for wildlife habitat restoration.

The initiative, known as State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), is part of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a federally-funded voluntary program that for 30 years has assisted agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. CRP has helped farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester 43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8 million cars off the road.

In total, up to 400,000 acres of additional agricultural land will be eligible for wildlife habitat restoration funding through this SAFE announcement. The additional acres are part of an earlier CRP wildlife habitat announcement made by Secretary Vilsack. Currently, more than 1 million acres, representing 98 projects, are enrolled in SAFE nationwide.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Reserve Program, which has not only resulted in significant soil and water improvements, but also greater populations of waterfowl, gamebirds and other wildlife native to the rural countryside,” said Wickard. “Here in Indiana, we have 32,800 acres designed specifically to increase habitat for the Indiana Bat, Northern Bobwhite Quail, Sedge Wren/Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Ring-necked Pheasant and the American Woodcock. Indiana farmers have currently enrolled 27,835 acres, and we hope to continue this progress by offering interested farmers the opportunity to enroll another 20,150 acres.”

Interested producers can offer land for enrollment in SAFE and other CRP initiatives by contacting their local FSA county office at http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more about the 30th anniversary of CRP and to review 30 success stories throughout the year, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/CRPis30 or follow Twitter at #CRPis30. And for more information about FSA conservation programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.

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