Weather Forecast


County gets new conservation program

Signup begun April 14 for enrollment in the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) Back Forty Pheasant Habitat practice.

This is a continuous CRP conservation practice available in Minnesota and all of Becker County, with 23,100 acres allocated to Minnesota.

The proposal was developed by Pheasants Forever, the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, in partnership with a number of other hunting and conservancy groups.

The Back Forty Pheasant Habitat practice serves to restore pheasant and prairie chicken habitat by establishing small blocks of grassland.

Offers may be for 10 to 40-acre blocks within a tract or adjacent tracts. Smaller fields less than 10 acres but adjacent to existing habitat that collectively meets the 10-acre minimum of habitat area also eligible. Included are center-pivot irrigation corners.

CP38E offers may include a variety of conservation practices at the participant's option and depending on practice acreage location. Habitat plans must include native grasses as the predominate cover but allows for minimal cool season grass with legumes, woody vegetation and a food plot.

The CRP contract period will be 10-15 years. The effective date of the contract is the first day of the month following the month of approval; however, participants may defer the effective date up to 6 months.

To be eligible for enrollment, a participant must have owned or operated the land at least 12 months prior to submitting the offer or recently taken possession of family owned property. The offered land must be cropland that has a cropping history of at least 4 of the 6 years from 1996 to 2001 and is physically and legally capable of being planted to an agricultural commodity in a normal manner.

In return for establishing long-term, resource-conserving covers, FSA provides annual rental payments to participants. In addition, a maintenance rate is added to the annual rental rate and he maximum per-acre annual rental rate is calculated in advance of enrollment.

FSA provides cost-share assistance to participants who establish approved cover on eligible cropland. The cost-share assistance can be no more than 50 percent of the participant's cost to establish approved practices. In addition to the annual rental payment and cost-share, FSA offers eligible participants incentives.

A one-time signing incentive payment (SIP) of $100 per acre is offered for each SIP-eligible enrolled. The SIP will be issued after the contract is approved and all payment eligibility criteria are met.

A one-time practice incentive payment (PIP) equal to 40 percent of the eligible installation cost is also made for PIP-eligible acres enrolled. The PIP will be issued after the practice is installed, eligible costs are verified, and other payment eligibility criteria are met. SIP and PIP are not available for expired CRP contract acres.