USDA California Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Val Dolcini says USDA will distribute approximately $1.6 billion in annual Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments and $3.8 billion in final 2010 direct payments to America's farmers and ranchers this month.

"October is an important month for California farmers and ranchers. CRP conservation payments, direct and counter-cyclical payments (DCP), and now Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments are distributed during this first month of the federal fiscal year," said Dolcini. "These funds support local economies and the responsible stewardship of America's production acreage."

California producers holding 508 CRP conservation contracts for their farmland will receive an average of $35.11 per acre for their habitat and environmental protection measures. Statewide, California producers will receive $4,421,800 in conservation payments for 125,934 acres.

National CRP enrollment stands at 31.3 million acres, making this FSA program the largest public-private partnership for conservation and wildlife habitat in the United States. This voluntary program helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land and provide millions of acres of habitat for game and non-game wildlife species.

USDA also issues non-rental CRP payments throughout the year. These payments for certain contracts include a 50 percent expense reimbursement for establishing and managing cover as well as incentive payments for enrolling eligible high priority conservation practices.

Beginning Oct. 12, final direct payments for the DCP and ACRE programs will be made to more than 1.1 million farmers and ranchers enrolled in these programs across the nation. These commodity stabilization programs form a safety net for farm and ranches to deal with the rise and fall of both market prices and production costs and to stabilize production in key crops in the U.S. The revenue-related payments for ACRE are scheduled to be made at a later time.

For more information about these programs, producers can contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.