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2,100 acres of CRP land added in county

More than 3¼ square miles of Marion County farmland will be added Oct. 1 to the Conservation Reserve Program, keeping that land out of farm production for 10 to 15 years.

All in all, about 15,000 acres or roughly 5 percent of the cropland in the county will be out of production. In western Kansas, up to 25 percent — the maximum under law without waivers — is enrolled in the program.

CRP enrollment in the county actually is slowing down, the county’s Farm Service Agency director, William Harmon, said Thursday.

This year’s addition to CRP is fewer acres than were enrolled two years ago, and farmers aren’t reenrolling expiring contracts as much as they used to.

Harmon believes the change is because crop prices are up, giving farmers incentive to put those acres back into production.

Farmers who enroll land in CRP receive annual rent from USDA that is supposed to be comparable to what the farmer would receive renting the ground to another farmer, Harmon said.

In return, the farmer cannot graze livestock, grow crops, or cut hay on the enrolled land, except under special circumstances.

Enrollment doesn’t entirely prevent use of the land, however.

“Being in the CRP does not restrict hunting rights,” Harmon said. CRP was established to protect water quality, reduce soil erosion, and provide more wildlife habitat.

Last modified June 27, 2012

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