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USDA to open sign-up period for CRP this May

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WASHINGTON D.C. - The USDA says it will open a four-week sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program next May.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the program played a vital role in last summer's drought, protecting sensitive land from erosion while emergency haying and grazing on those lands provided important feed and forage for livestock.

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About 27 million acres are enrolled in the voluntary program which pays farmers to keep environmentally sensitive land out of production. Contracts on more than three million acres are scheduled to expire at the end of September. The CRP goals are to improve water quality, control erosion and improve wildlife habitat.

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The state of Wisconsin offers help to minority farmers of all ethnic backgrounds in areas like food safety, financial literacy and many other areas. The Wisconsin Farm Center with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection helps those farmers find the resources available to help them find success. Wisconsin has large minority farmer concentrations near Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, the Fox Cities and Wausau. Minority farmers who grow vegetables, herbs and flowers on rented land can access help in negotiating a beneficial lease agreement, among other types of aid.

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