Farmers and ranchers who want to enroll grasslands in the Conservation Reserve Program may sign up now through Friday, May 15.

“Through this CRP Grasslands signup, farmers and ranchers can protect grasslands, rangelands and pastures, while maintaining the land as working grazing lands,” said Joe Martin, state executive director of the state Farm Service Agency office. “The program emphasizes support for grazing operations and plant and animal biodiversity, while protecting land under the greatest threat of conversion or development.”

The grasslands program allows participants to conduct common grazing practices, such as haying, mowing or harvesting seed from the enrolled land, with some restrictions during primary bird nesting season.

Participants will receive an annual rental payment and may receive funding for up to half the cost of establishing the grasslands. The CRP contract lasts either 10 or 15 years.

Applicants will get priority for the program based on factors such as the existence of expiring CRP land, threat of conversion or development, existing grassland, and predominance of native species cover and cost.

The 2018 Farm Bill set aside 2 million acres for the grassland program. For more information, contact your local FSA office or visit fsa.usda.gov/crp. Local offices are listed at farmers.gov/service-locator.