The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands signup helps Illinois farmers and landowners protect grassland, including rangeland, and pastureland and others, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions across the state, promotes biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and also results in carbon sequestration benefits.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has updated the Grassland signup to a minimum rental rate of $15 per acre, benefitting 1,300 counties. The signup is competitive, and FSA will provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“Producers can enroll their working lands and get some compensation for their efforts, if approved for funding, without making major or possibly any changes to their management,” said Matt Bunger, USDA-NRCS State Grazing Lands Specialist. “It’s a win-win for both the operator and for the environment.”

Farmers and landowners can sign up until August 20, 2021. This year, the USDA updated signup options to provide greater incentives for producers and increased the program’s conservation and climate benefits, including setting a minimum renal rate and identifying two national priority zones.

To enroll, farmers and landowners should contact their USDA Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment by the August 20 deadline.

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