Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminds landowners, farmers and ranchers that the opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up 41 ends on Friday, April 15. Producers who want to offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general sign-up may enroll at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office where their farm records are maintained.

“CRP enjoys strong backing from farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor sports enthusiasts,” said Vilsack. “For 25 years CRP has improved water and air quality, preserved habitat for wildlife, and prevented soil erosion. I urge any eligible landowner to visit their county office to learn more about this program.”

CRP is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to protect their environmentally sensitive land. Through CRP, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Land can be enrolled for a period of up to 15 years. During the general signup period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1, 2011. The general sign-up for CRP will not affect cropped acres for this growing season. Acres will be enrolled in the program in the fall.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for additional information regarding CRP.