The Nebraska Farm Bureau, the Nebraska Cattlemen, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Nebraska Farm Service Agency and others today joined in an announcement to encourage the state’s landowners to learn more about a new U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) option. Under the “Migratory Birds, Butterflies and Pollinators” State Acres for Wildlife (Migratory Birds SAFE) option, up to 10,000 acres can be enrolled in this CRP initiative in areas of the state known for playa wetlands.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) manages the CRP program. Nebraska FSA will open enrollment for this new SAFE in the coming weeks.
“This CRP option gives Nebraska farmers another tool they can use to improve the economic viability of their operations, especially in marginally productive and flood prone acres. Such tools and options are particularly important in these challenging times,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
According to Andy Bishop, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture coordinator, the Joint Venture partnered with several other entities to develop and present this project proposal to USDA FSA as a way to provide landowners with farmed crop acres that continually flood a financially viable alternative that also increases important habitat for migratory birds.
“These wetlands support millions of migratory birds during their biannual migrations from the wintering grounds to the breeding grounds. Acres enrolled in this program will also serve to improve water quality and seasonally recharge groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer,” said Bishop.
Roric Paulman, a producer near Sutherland, Nebraska, praised the partners for developing an economically viable conservation program with the programmatic flexibility to fit into irrigated agriculture operations.
“Nebraska’s producers recognize the importance of good stewardship, but conservation programs have to be economically viable and complement the farm operation or they simply can’t be implemented,” said Paulman.
The program allows for a minimum parcel size of two acres up to a maximum of 160 acres.
“Mid-contract management, meaning the application of management practices to keep the cover healthy, will be required,” said Greg Reisdorff, Nebraska FSA chief for Conservation and Environmental Programs. “This includes the option for managed harvesting of the acres and/or prescribed grazing. Contracts will be for 10-15 years.”
Landowners interested in learning more about this CRP SAFE project should visit their local FSA office. To find a county office in Nebraska, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ne, and click on “county offices” in the left hand toolbar.
For more on the Nebraska Cattlemen visit http://nebraskacattlemen.org/
For more on the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture visit http://rwbjv.org/
For more on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission visit http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us/homepage.html
For more the Nebraska Farm Service Agency visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Nebraska/index
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 61,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.