In Minnesota, more opportunities with CRP SAFE acres

An amendment reportedly has been introduced that would eliminate expansion of CRP.

Starting Jan. 1, landowners in Minnesota will have expanded opportunities to voluntarily enroll property in a popular Conservation Reserve Program practice.

Thanks to a new allocation of CRP acres by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement practice — Back Forty Pheasant Habitat — has 50,000 acres available for enrollment to Minnesota landowners interested in creating and conserving upland habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland wildlife.

“CRP SAFE acres invest in quality habitat for grassland birds, the program is open for enrollment until allocations are reached, and the current rental rates are attractive,” said Eran Sandquist, state coordinator for Pheasants Forever in Minnesota. “And, if landowners have an expiring CRP contract, SAFE — or one of the other continuous CRP practices — is something they should strongly consider.”

Created nearly a decade ago, SAFE practices allowed states to design CRP practices that maintained the program’s hallmark soil and water conservation benefits while targeting specific wildlife species. Because of continued —and in some cases rapid — upland habitat loss, many states tailored their programs to benefit pheasants and quail. The nationwide SAFE allocation is 2.45 million acres with more than 760,000 acres currently available to landowners for enrollment — 50,000 acres have been earmarked for Minnesota’s Back Forty Pheasant SAFE.

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