Pilot program enables Prairie Pothole producers to plant perennial crops for conservation

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s new pilot program enables farmers in the Prairie Pothole region to receive payments for planting perennial crops for conservation use for three to five years. The new Conservation Reserve Program Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) pilot is available to producers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The signup for this pilot starts March 30 and ends August 21.

Through SHIPP, producers have the option of three-, four- or five-year CRP contracts to establish perennial crops for conservation use on less productive cropland in exchange for payments. This pilot enables producers to plant perennial crops that, among other benefits, will improve soil health and water quality while having the option to harvest, hay and graze during certain times of the year. Up to 50,000 acres can be enrolled.

The SHIPP pilot is the latest option in a full suite of opportunities available to producers through CRP and other conservation programs offered by USDA. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to talk to their FSA county staff soon about whether this pilot fits their operation or consider another longer-term option such as the CRP Continuous signup that is ongoing.

For more information, see the fact sheet, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp. Or call your local office.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.