MADISON, Wis. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Wisconsin is processing $28,637,057 in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments to landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands.

“Annual rental payments through the Conservation Reserve Program help farmers and landowners who want to take sensitive land out of production in order to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion or create wildlife habitat,” said Sandy Chalmers, Wisconsin FSA state executive director.

USDA began issuing 2019 CRP payments last week to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. In Wisconsin, 14,657 landowners will receive compensation for their efforts to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat on 195,482 acres enrolled in CRP throughout the state.

Nationwide, more than 22 million acres of land were enrolled in CRP and payments totaled more than $1.7 billion in annual rental payments.

CRP is a voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so environmentally sensitive agricultural land is not farmed or ranched but instead used for conservation benefits. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

FSA is planning a CRP general signup in December 2019, with a CRP Grasslands signup to follow. Official dates for these signups and other CRP signup opportunities will be announced in the future.

For more information about USDA programs or to locate a local FSA county office, people may visit www.farmers.gov.