August 9, 2001

Pheasants Forever Joins With MDC, Local Soil & Water Districts To Promote CCRP

A trio of local conservation organizations has taken the first step in promoting the Continuos Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) to raise the level of participation in Missouri closer to the level of the neighboring state to the north.

The Northeast Missouri Chapter of Pheasants Forever has joined with the Soil and Water Conservation districts from Scotland and Knox counties as well as the Missouri Department of Conservation to help fund the CCRP program.

Each partner contributed $5,000 toward the project, which is aimed at increasing local enrollment in the federal land conservation program.

Since 1996 Missouri landowners have enrolled just over 30,000 acres into the program. That is less than 25 percent of the enrollment level of the state's north neighbor, Iowa, which has more than 127,000 acres enrolled in CCRP.

The partnership between the local groups and MDC marks the first joint effort in Missouri. Iowa has recorded $1.7 million in donations from statewide conservation groups since the inception of CCRP four years ago.

The local donations will be used in a similar fashion to the successful promotional efforts in Iowa. The money will be used to hire professionals to visit area landowners in a one-on-one setting to inform them of the benefits of the CCRP program.

When land is accepted into the CCRP program it entitles the landowner to an annual rental payment, which is determined by the soil type. The landowner also gets an annual payment of from $5 to $10 per acre to help maintain the practice as well as a 90 percent cost-share payment for installing the practice. Certain practices will also pay a one-time incentive payment of from $100 to $150 per acre. CCRP contracts can be from 10 to 15 years in length.

Eligible practices include: filter strips (grasses), riparian buffers (trees), grassed waterways, field windbreaks, contour grass strips and shallow water areas for wildlife. Eligibility is similar to CRP, requiring a crop history.

Benefits of the CCRP program can be grouped into three areas, environmental, social and economic.

Environmental services in-clude the reduction of soil erosion and flooding, improving water quality, and increasing groundwater recharge and stream bank stabilization.

Social benefits include recreation, educational and aesthetics.

Economic benefits include retention of valuable topsoil, increased crop yields, annual payments to landowners equal to cropping incomes and increased property values.

Unlike CRP, there is no competition for acceptance for CCRP. There are no specific sign up dates. Chances are you have areas on your farm that qualify for the CCRP program so contact your local USDA Service Center for more specifics on the program.

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