Community

Conservation Reserve Program informational workshops begin Tuesday

A bumblebee gathers pollen from a yellow coneflower on Monday in a Conservation Reserve Program plot dominated by wildfl
A bumblebee gathers pollen from a yellow coneflower on Monday in a Conservation Reserve Program plot dominated by wildflowers attractive to pollinator insects. (Orlan Love/correspondent)

VINTON — The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Pheasants Forever are hosting workshops for landowners and producers interested in learning more about options available under the recently reopened Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). These workshops are free and open to the public. RSVPs are not required.

CRP is a voluntary conservation program that offers financial incentives to agricultural producers in exchange for protection of environmentally sensitive cropland planted to perennial cover for a period of 10 to 15 years. The Conservation Reserve Program is administered by the FSA and has been a critically important tool for private landowners and producers since the 1980s to control soil erosion, build organic matter, improve water and air quality, and provide wildlife habitat. There currently is a General CRP signup open now through Feb. 28. Cropland and expired/expiring CRP can be offered during this current signup period. Offers will be ranked according to the cover, soil, water, air and cost benefits provided.

Attend a workshop to learn about the importance of CRP, eligibility requirements, maximizing your General CRP offer and meeting your farm objectives and goals. The workshop also will cover how to improve your overall farm income by identifying marginal cropland acres and targeting CRP on those unprofitable acres.

Information will be similar for all workshops, which are about two hours long. Times and Locations:

Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.: Lowe Park Environment Center, 4500 N. 10th St., Marion

• Wednesday, 2 and 5:30 p.m., Independence Public Library, 805 First St. East, Independence

• Jan. 21, 6:30 p.m., Van Horne Community Center, 508 First Ave., Van Horne

• Jan. 23, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., State Bank of Toledo Community Room,

103 S. Broadway St., Toledo

For questions, contact Allie Rath at (319) 330-6015 or arath@pheasantsforever.org. If you are unable to attend any of the workshops listed but are interested in finding out more about CRP, contact your local USDA Service Center or keep checking in at www.IowaPF.net for workshops being held across the state.

Individuals with disabilities should schedule attendance in advance to ensure proper accommodations are provided. This includes, but is not limited to, such items as accessibility, sign language interpreters, Braille, large print or alternative print formats, and special dietary requirements.

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