By Max Fisher, Vice President of Economics and Government Relations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has rolled out two new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pilot programs – the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) and CLEAR 30. Both pilot programs were authorized by the 2018 farm law and are offering enrollments in 2020.
SHIPP is restricted to landowners in the Prairie Pothole region (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota) and the rationale for the program is to create an alternative within CRP that is shorter in duration (three- to five- year contracts), lower in cost (landowners may plant lower cost perennial crops), and of greater economic use (more managed haying, grazing and seed harvesting). The SHIPP pilot program is limited to 50,000 acres and signup started March 30 and ends Aug. 21.
The second new pilot program, CLEAR 30, is for landowners in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. CLEAR 30 provides for 30-year CRP contracts on recently expired or expiring CRP contracts that were enrolled under water quality conservation practices. The program signup period is July 6 to Aug. 21.
CLEAR 30 is focused on water quality and is related to a larger farm bill policy change that directs USDA to enroll at least 8.6 million CRP acres by 2023 through continuous sign-ups with at least 40 percent of the acreage in water quality practices.
Annual rental payments for CLEAR 30 will be equal to the current continuous CRP annual payment rate plus 27.5 percent. FSA will mail postcard the week of May 11, 2020 to landowners with an expiring CRP contract that is eligible for enrollment in CLEAR 30.