U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced increases in the acreage of agricultural lands eligible for funding through one of its wildlife habitat restoration programs. The program, known as State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) is an initiative within the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers CRP and its SAFE program, and NRCS provides technical support to enrolled landowners. The Texas FSA office announced a 27,300-acre increase, and Kansas FSA announced a 55,000-acre increase (click links to read state funding announcements).
If you are a farmer or rancher in the five-state lesser prairie-chicken range, contact your local USDA/FSA office to determine whether you are located in a designated SAFE-eligible area.
CRP uses Farm Bill funding to provide annual rental payments to agricultural landowners to establish grassland cover on sensitive agricultural lands to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and establish wildlife habitat. The State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program is a subset of CRP specifically targeted to significant natural resource landscapes and associated benefits, including threatened species like the lesser prairie-chicken. SAFE offers incentive payments for new enrollments, annual acreage rental payments, and cost-share funding.