USDA Extends Signup Deadline for New Conservation Pilot Program

The Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline to November 20, 2020, for the Soil Health and Income Protection Program. The new pilot program enables farmers to receive payments for planting perennial cover for conservation use for three to five years. Signup opened March 30, 2020, for the pilot program, which is part of the Conservation Reserve Program and available to producers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says, “We want to ensure our producers are given adequate time to enroll in this pilot program to improve soil health on their farms.” Producers can apply for three-, four-, or five-year CRP contracts to establish perennial cover on less productive cropland in exchange for payments. This pilot enables producers to plant perennial cover that, among other benefits, will improve soil health and water quality while having the option to harvest, hay, and graze outside the primary nesting season. Producers can enroll up to 50,000 acres in the program.