561 have signed this petition
The U.S. Department of Agriculture opened enrollment for General CRP signup on December 2, 2019, and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky has stated that it is likely to be “the largest signup ever.” This availability is timely. While the 2018 Farm Bill raises the acreage cap from 24 to 27 million acres by 2023, contracts for 6 of the 22 million acres currently enrolled will expire in September 2020. While there is certain to be significant landowner interest, the administration must engage in an aggressive enrollment effort in order to maintain and build upon the program success of the last several years.
The CRP’s ecological impact is visible: more than 170,000 miles of trees and grasses planted to protect downstream fish habitat; 440,000 acres devoted to pollinator recovery; and healthy populations of turkeys, quail, pheasants, deer, black bears, and others. It is no surprise then that many farmers, ranchers, and landowners provide access for hunters and anglers on these quality CRP acres.
Here is where the benefits of the CRP program become a bit more widespread and why the program is so important to communities throughout rural America. Every year, small towns see hotels and diners fill with hunters pursuing pheasants, waterfowl, and deer on CRP lands. Dollars spent on accommodations, food, licenses, ammunition, gas, and other costs directly benefit these local economies. There is real economic benefit to conserving these lands, demonstrating definitively that CRP works for agriculture, sportsmen, and wildlife alike.