Hoeven Worked to Ensure CRP Works For Farmers, Ranchers, Sportsmen

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today told members of the N.D. Association of Soil Conservation Districts that he worked to ensure that the conservation measures like CRP, SAFE and EQIP in the 2014 farm bill work for North Dakota farmers, ranchers and sportsmen. The senator served on the joint Senate-House Conference Committee that crafted the final version of the five-year bill.

“Conservation measures in the new farm bill will help to protect and preserve our soil and water, valuable resources for our state both agriculturally and recreationally,” Hoeven said. “Programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement work for our farmers, ranchers, hunters and anyone who enjoys the outdoors, and I welcome input from ASCD members and others who are out there on the land and know it well.”

Hoeven reviewed measures that will help maintain North Dakota’s good stewardship of the land.

• State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Program (SAFE): The farm bill includes language encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to allocate a greater number of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to programs like SAFE, which allow producers to create habitat that is beneficial for wildlife. This is a good program for both farmers and sportsmen because it will allow farmers to optimize CRP acreage to encourage wildlife populations. States like North Dakota have lost CRP acreage, which has a reduced habitat for a number of sports species like deer and pheasants.

Combined with North Dakota’s PLOTS program, which make private lands available to hunters, the SAFE program can create more habitats to increase wildlife populations and hunting opportunities. That’s a win for soil quality, farmers, ranchers and sportsmen and women.

• The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The farm bill reauthorizes EQIP, a voluntary program under the Natural Resource Conservation Service that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate.