The head of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) says a popular conservation program continues to help farmers and the environment.
Val Dolcini, FSA administrator, came to Nebraska to check on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants as CRP hits its 30th anniversary.
“Local landowners are able to enjoy some economic benefit from enrolling their land into ten year contracts,” Dolcini tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Payments are made for keeping cropland out of production and protecting sensitive areas.
Dolcini says the general public benefits too.
“Bird enthusiasts or hunters in some cases, or folks who just appreciate the fact that we’ve prevented the erosion of topsoil or preventing the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus,” he says.
There are 782,848 acres enrolled in the CRP in Nebraska. That is about three percent of CRP’s total acres nationwide.
“Right now, there’s a lot of interest in CRP, because commodity prices are a little bit lower,” Dolcini says. “I don’t have quite as many acres available to me as I’d like to pass it out around the country, but it’s been a very successful program here.”
The program helps reduce farmland erosion and fertilizer runoff by creating wildlife habitat and restoring wetlands.
“It’s been a really successful example of a public-private partnership that works well for landowners and for stakeholders and agencies that participate in it. The benefits have been numerous here in Nebraska and around the country,” Dolcini says.