FSA allocates an additional 400,000 acres for SAFE
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-- The USDA Farm Service Agency in Illinois has announced
that FSA has allocated an additional 400,000 acres nationwide to the
State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement program, or SAFE, which
improves habitat for high-priority wildlife species.
"SAFE is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides an
opportunity for grass-roots conservation partners to develop related
projects to address high-priority wildlife needs through habitat
restoration," said Scherrie V. Giamanco, FSA state executive
SAFE project area proposals are being accepted for the
purpose of improving habitats for the designated wildlife species in
new areas as well as possibly expanding current project areas by
requesting additional acreage. Project sponsors must submit all
proposals as soon as possible, but no later than the May 15, as the
State Technical Committee is scheduled to complete the proposal
review process May 15-18.
The Illinois 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.
Various conservation practices currently offered under the
Conservation Reserve Program 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
Giamanco 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."
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As with other Conservation Reserve Program 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 and 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.
According to Giamanco, Illinois currently has 12,600 acres across
the state enrolled in existing SAFE program project areas.
For additional details on SAFE project areas, including the
format to submit proposals, visit
http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ and click on "Conservation Programs" or
email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
at the Illinois FSA office.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Farm Service Agency]