High demand for Conservation Reserve Program’s reallocated SAFE acres

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Saint Paul, MN, March 17 – On Monday morning, 150,000 acres were opened to landowner enrollment through the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice. By Tuesday morning, states were already reporting their allotted acreages were fully enrolled. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the reallocation of these SAFE acres just over two weeks ago on February 27th at Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest in Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, and both Dakotas have reported extremely high demand for the newly reallocated acres. Iowa filled its 9,000 acre reallocation by the end of Monday. Idaho expects to fully enroll its new 16,000 acre reallocation by the end of this week. Minnesota has also experienced high demand and expects its 10,800 acres to be gone soon. Nebraska landowners have offered well over their available 4,500 reallocated acres to once again cap out their two SAFE programs. North Dakota’s 18,000 acres were committed by the end of Tuesday. And, South Dakota’s 18,000 reallocated acres are also expected to be fully enrolled by week’s end with 11,000 under contract by Wednesday morning.

“There is obviously pent-up demand for available SAFE acres from farmers and ranchers. That’s great news for wildlife,” reported Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The wildlife success stories that SAFE has delivered, coupled with the landowner demand we are currently experiencing are certainly our two strongest allies as we go back to Secretary Vilsack and request additional SAFE acres.”

SAFE acres are focused on environmentally sensitive land, as well as on species which have suffered significant population declines and/or are considered to be socially or economically valuable. This is the newest CRP practice (CP 38). States and target species include North Dakota pheasants, South Dakota grassland birds, Idaho Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, Minnesota pheasants, Mississippi bobwhite quail, Nebraska upland habitats, Iowa pheasants and upland birds, Illinois pheasants and upland habitat, and Georgia bobwhite quail.

“Local Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency employees, along with Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologists, deserve a tremendous amount of credit for turning these newly allocated SAFE acres into landowner contracts in such a short window of time,” Nomsen added.

Also during his National Pheasant Fest visit last month, Secretary Vilsack announced the reallocation of 100,000 acres for CRP’s “Bobwhite Buffers” practice (CP 33), 50,000 acres for CRP’s “Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative” practice (CP 37), and plans for the first general CRP signup in four years.

For more information on Secretary Vilsack’s Feb. 27 announcement, go to: http://www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/Feb2710H1.pdf.
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