USDA extends deadlines

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OXFORD – Gary Raymond, acting county executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in Oxford County, announced that the USDA has extended the sign-up deadlines for the Conservation Reserve Program and special CRP re-enrollment and extension opportunities until April 28. The deadline for both opportunities had been April 14.

“I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers to take advantage of the Conservation Reserve Program enrollment options available now through April 28,” said Raymond. “Farmers can improve our soil, water, air and wildlife habitat resources by re-enrolling and extending their CRP contracts.”

After the CRP general sign-up ends, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will evaluate offers based on cost and environmental benefits to wildlife, water, soil and air. Accepted offers will become effective Oct. 1.

In addition, subject to a compliance review, CRP participants with contracts expiring on Sept. 30, 2007, now have until April 28 to apply for special re-enrollment or extension opportunities offered by FSA. Participants ranking in the top one-fifth can re-enroll their land in a new 10-year contract. For lands with restored wetlands, FSA offered the opportunity for a new 15-year contract. FSA offered the second one-fifth group the opportunity for a 5-year extension; the third one-fifth a 4-year extension; the fourth one-fifth a 3-year extension; and the remaining participants a 2-year extension.

FSA county offices are beginning to notify CRP participants with contracts expiring in 2008-2010 of their re-enrollment and extension opportunities. The deadline for participants to respond is June 30.

CRP participants voluntarily enroll highly erodible and other fragile cropland in CRP through long-term contracts of 10 to 15 years. On the enrolled land, participants plant grasses, trees and other vegetation. In exchange, participants receive annual rental payments and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation covers. For more information contact local FSA offices or visit the FSA Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crp.htm

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