WASHINGTON — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Sept. 14 announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will accept 4.3 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program. In the 39th general signup for the nation’s primary rural land conservation program just concluded, producers offered 50,000 contracts covering 4.8 million acres, so nearly all contracts offered were accepted.
“Interest in this open enrollment period was high, and I’m pleased that producers and landowners across the nation continue to realize the environmental benefits of enrolling land in the C.R.P.,” Mr. Vilsack said.
The signup brought overall enrollment of land in the C.R.P. to 31.2 million acres compared with the statutory cap of 32 million acres. The results left room under the cap for the enrollment of additional acres via the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a continuous signup mechanism, as well as other C.R.P. initiatives through fiscal 2011.
The average rental rate for the 39th signup was about $46 per acre.