Starting September 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial aid to help conserve working grass, range, and pasture lands. Applications will be accepted by the Farm Service Agency through Nov. 20, 2015.
Participants must have owned and managed the proposed land for one year. Eligible participants will be provided with rental payments, up to 75% of the grazing land value. A cost-share is also available up to 50% of resource-conserving covers.
Farmers may still conduct traditional grazing, mowing, harvesting, or producing practices while the land is enrolled in the program.
This initiative, part of the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), aims to increase livestock grazing lands by investing in farmers and ranchers, who are willing to maintain the grounds. The federally funded program has been encouraging the restoration of water quality, prevention of soil erosion, and increase of wildlife for over 30 years. USDA assists with rental agreements, and cost-sharing for program participants.
USDA estimates that over 30 years CRP’s participants prevented 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, and 43 million tons of greenhouse gases sequestered.