(Lincoln, NE) –July 28, 2015) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced that agricultural land in Nebraska continues to be eligible for funding for wildlife habitat restoration.

USDA Accepting More Farmland for Wildlife Habitat in Nebraska

Contact:
Dan Steinkruger, State Executive Director, at (402) 437-5581
or dan.steinkruger@ne.usda.gov
FSA Website: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ne

(Lincoln, NE) –July 28, 2015) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced that agricultural land in Nebraska continues to be 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, FSA 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.

Nationally, 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 Steinkruger. “Here in Nebraska, acreage in the Upland Game Bird SAFE is designed specifically to increase Upland Game Bird species habitat. Since it was first established in 2007, farmers and ranchers in Nebraska have enrolled 40,902 acres, resulting in additional acres to meet project goals, increase habitat for these as well as other declining grassland species. Nebraska also has a CRP SAFE designed for Greater Prairie Chickens. A little over 17,000 acres are enrolled in the Greater Prairie Chickens in Tallgrass Prairie in Nebraska and more acreage can be enrolled.”

Interested producers can offer land for enrollment in SAFE and other CRP initiatives by contacting their local FSA office at http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more 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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