USDA North Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Aaron Krauter yesterday announced that FSA has allocated an additional 400,000 acres nationwide to the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program that improves habitat for high-priority wildlife species.
“SAFE is a voluntary conservation initiatives that provides an opportunity for grassroots conservation partners to develop related projects to address high priority wildlife needs through habitat restoration,” said Krauter.
SAFE project area proposals are being accepted for the purpose of improving habitat for the designated wildlife species in new areas as well as possibly expanding current SAFE project areas by requesting additional acreage. SAFE project sponsors must submit all project proposals as soon as possible as the State Technical Committee is scheduled to complete the proposal review process on May 23, 2012.
The North Dakota FSA State Committee will complete the final review and submit recommended proposals to the National FSA Office for final evaluation no later than June 1, 2012.
Various conservation practices currently offered under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) are fine-tuned through the SAFE proposal to improve, connect or create higher-quality wildlife habitats by promoting healthier ecosystems in the project areas identified as essential to the effective management of high priority wildlife species.
Krauter added, “Once a project proposal is approved and acreage allocated, the SAFE program is implemented through a continuous CRP signup allowing USDA to accept producer acreage offers year-round.
As with other Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) initiatives, the land and producer must meet certain eligibility requirements. Once approval of the SAFE project is announced, interested landowners can submit offers to voluntarily enroll qualifying acres in a SAFE project/CRP contract for a term of 10 to 15 years. In exchange, SAFE/CRP program participants receive annual rental payments, project incentives and cost-share assistance to establish habitat-enhancing natural covers on eligible land.
Source: USDA FSA