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Published April 29, 2013, 09:26 AM

CRP suggestions

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

The Farm Service Agency, which administers the Conservation Reserve Program, will rank offers for CRP signup 45 using the environmental benefits index, or EBI.

Through the index, a number of factors — including wildlife habitat benefits, air quality benefits and the per-acre rate that the owner will accept — are evaluated and assigned point scores. Each tract of land offered in the signup will receive its own EBI score.

After signup 45 ends on June 14, FSA will analyze and rank offers. Only offers that score enough points to exceed the “EBI threshold” will be accepted. The threshold, or cutoff, varies from one general signup to the next, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will make the call on signup 45’s threshold.

The FSA offers these general suggestions on how landowners can make their CRP offers more competitive:

n Discover which vegetative cover mix would give you the most points.

n Offer only the most environmentally sensitive land. (Keep in mind that FSA has a “highly erodible program,” in which eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time.)

n Consider accepting a lower per-acre rate than FSA is willing to offer.

More information: Visit your local FSA office.