The USDA’s Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup is now open! As part of the General CRP signup, landowners are given the option to enroll cover that provides valuable habitat for a couple of Oklahoma’s iconic wildlife species. The CRP cover options CP-38 - State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), looks to restore grasslands to benefit Northern bobwhite quail and the Monarch butterfly. The restoration will also provide habitat for a number of other grassland wildlife species. The wildlife benefits of SAFE are in addition to the indirect benefits CRP provides in improved water and air quality, reduced soil erosion, and outdoor recreation.
To be eligible for CRP land must be cropland that is planted, or considered planted, to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2012-2017, and be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity. Expiring CRP acres would also be eligible, provided they can or will meet the cover requirements.
Your local USDA field office (found at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator) can explain SAFE cover requirements. SAFE is targeted to certain areas of the state and may not be eligible for everyone (see map below). However, many cover options within CRP can be enhanced to provide wildlife habitat.
The CRP signup is going on right now and currently has no deadline. Farm the best, CRP the rest!