Iowa CRP Adds 47,300 Acres

Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Services – Midwest Region; Flickr

With this new addition, Iowa’s Conservation Reserve Program enrollment is now up to 1.4 million acres.

The CRP is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.

Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

To learn more about the recent addition, follow this link.

Conservation Reserve Program in Iowa

Tom Vilsack announcing adding 400,000 acres to the CRP. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.
Tom Vilsack announcing adding 400,000 acres to the CRP. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.

Iowa Public Radio details the efforts of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Iowa.

The CRP is a program where farmers receive money to keep portions of their land out of production. This reduces runoff, prevents erosion and creates more habitats for migrating birds.

Read about CRP and its future here.

Conservation Reserve Program offers incentives to protect erodible farmland

Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia, Flickr

In order to maintain the current amount of erodible farmland in our country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering financial incentives for farmers who enroll their grasslands and wetlands into the Conservation Reserve Program.

Up to 1 million acres will be enrolled in order to maintain the current level of erodible farmland in our country (30 million acres).

In addition to reducing erosion and farm runoff, this effort will create new habitats for wildlife.

The Washington Post reports:

Grasslands enrollment increases by 700,000 acres, including land for duck nesting and upland bird habitat. The program also establishes 100,000 new acres to be set aside for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

With similar past programs from the Conservation Reserve Program, the land enrolled typically comes from the least productive part of the farm.

Professor Richard Cruse speaks on Iowa’s topsoil

Richard Cruse is an Agronomy professor at Iowa State University. His research focuses on soil and crop management. One of his most recent projects involved leading a research team that created a system to more realistically estimate the amount of soil erosion occurring in Iowa. Cruse talked with Iowa Environmental Focus about this project, and about the importance of preserving Iowa’s topsoil.

Why Iowa needs its topsoil:

Topsoil is a basis for our economy, the basis for international trade and the basis for food production worldwide. The science related to soil erosion is that when soil erosion proceeds, soil’s productivity potential drops. That occurs in Iowa, and it occurs basically anywhere in the world. Continue reading