(LINCOLN, Neb.) Dec. 16, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced that up to 48,000 acres can be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Nebraska for critical wildlife and water quality efforts. This amount is in addition to the 122,000 acres of CRP Grasslands announced earlier in the month.

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Investments in Nebraska

Up to 48,000 acres in the state can begin enrollment to protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat

(LINCOLN, Neb.) Dec. 16, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced that up to 48,000 acres can be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Nebraska for critical wildlife and water quality efforts. This amount is in addition to the 122,000 acres of CRP Grasslands announced earlier in the month.

This announcement also includes approval of a new CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program designed to create habitat beneficial to migratory birds.

“Over the past 30 years, CRP has helped farmers to offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat,” said Steinkruger. “Given the national cap of 24 million acres, it is more important than ever to pursue multiple benefits on each acre of CRP so that many acres are providing erosion prevention, water conservation, recreation for sportsman, habitat for pollinators, and protection of grazing land.”

Nationwide, farmers and ranchers now can enroll up to 1.1 million acres to restore high-priority wildlife habitat through the CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, wetlands restoration, or pollinator habitat improvements. In Nebraska, up to 14,000 acres are now available to enroll in the Tallgrass Prairie SAFE, a CRP practice designed to enhance habitat for greater prairie chicken, and up to 24,000 acres are now available to enroll in the statewide Upland Bird SAFE, a CRP initiative designed to develop habitat for pheasants and quail.

Nebraska also has been approved for up to 10,000 acres in a new SAFE proposal called Migratory Birds, Butterflies and Pollinators for Kansas and Nebraska. The project priority area in Nebraska is playa wetlands in the southern half of the state. More information will be coming soon on this new program.

USDA recently accepted more than 504,000 acres into the CRP Grasslands program, bringing the total to more than 600,000 acres. In Nebraska, FSA accepted 122,000 acres in the program, providing participants with financial assistance for establishing pollinators or grazing enhancements on pasture and rangeland that can continue to be grazed.

Throughout the Obama Administration, USDA has generated thousands of critical partnerships to conserve and protect natural resources on working landscapes, while enrolling a record number of acres in conservation programs. Seventy-percent of the nation’s land is owned and tended to privately, and America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners have willingly stepped up to address the growing impacts of a changing climate. With USDA’s support, they work to implement voluntary practices that improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion and create and protect wildlife habitat.

Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect land and water on over 400 million acres nationwide.

To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation or contact a local FSA county office. To find an FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov/.

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