With over 50,000 acres of South Carolina farmland set to expire from the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) between 2008 and 2010, the Federal agency has extended an offer to participants to re-enroll or extend their contracts.

Ken Rentiers, executive director of the state's Farm Service Agency, says the predominance of these expiring contracts are planted to pine trees. He notes that producers extending their contracts will be able to commercially thin stands, if needed.

The length of CRP extensions and re-enrollments will be based on the Environmental Benefit Index of the original contract. Length of these changes will be determined by the National FSA office, Rentiers explains.

“At minimum, our producers with compliant contracts will be offered a two-year extension and thus an additional two-year rental payment,” Rentiers notes. He adds that eligible participants will be notified by mail during April.

Rentiers stresses that producers must request a compliance review by their local FSA office by June 30, 2006, if they want to re-enroll or extend contracts expiring between 2008 and 2010.

The purpose of the CRP is to retire environmentally sensitive row crop land and establish it into a permanent crop. Approved participants receive an annual rental payment for the acreage enrolled.

e-mail: rroberson@farmpress.com