IOWA RECEIVES AN ADDITIONAL 10,500 CRP ACRES TO BENEFIT BOBWHITE QUAIL AND OTHER UPLAND BIRDS
DES MOINES – Iowa producers can enroll up to 10,500 additional acres of cropland into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to benefit upland game birds and other small birds.
“The program is designed to provide much needed habitat and brood rearing areas for quail, pheasant and songbirds in the state,” said Todd Bogenschutz, a wildlife biologist with the DNR. “At the same time, set aside programs protect the most vulnerable land from soil erosion and improve water quality for everyone.”
The additional acres were announced by the U.S.D.A. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the national Pheasant Fest in March. Producers can sign up at any time at their local U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency. However, the sign up is “first-come, first-served,” according to Vickie Friedow, of the Farm Service Agency’s conservation and compliance department. “With a limited number of acres available, I would encourage anyone who is interested to contact their local U.S.D.A. office as soon as possible” she added.
Eligible areas include cropland and cropland around the edges of existing grain fields. The average width of the enrolled area must be between 30 and 120 feet wide. At least half of the field must be in crops. To be eligible, the land must have been cropped or considered cropped for four of the six years from 1996 to 2001.
Producers will not be able to enroll land that is used for turn rows, roads, or for storage of crops or equipment. In addition, cropland adjacent to a stream filter or buffer strip is not eligible.
Annual payments will be based on the average rental rates for the county. A combination of cost-share and incentive programs will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of establishing the field border. A sign-up bonus of $100 per acre is available. Contracts run for 10 years. Enrolled areas must be seeded to a combination of native plants including at least four grass species and a combination of at least five wildflowers and legumes.
For technical assistance, landowners can contact their local U.S.D.A. Service Center (http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ia/) or their local DNR or Pheasants Forever private lands biologists (http://www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/privatelands/index.html).
Producers can contact their local U.S.D.A. Office for more information.