Archive for Wednesday, February 9, 2000

Farmland in Leavenworth County available for conservation program

February 9, 2000

With another Conservation Reserve Program signup in the works, more of Leavenworth County's farmland is up for grabs.

Gary Rader, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Leavenworth, said the county encompasses 302,080 acres. Of that, about 230,000 acres are used for agricultural purposes, and of that, about 6,000 acres are in CRP.

Conservation Reserve Program land is ground that is enrolled in a 10-year contract with the government in which, generally, native grasses are planted and maintained for the duration. Landowners have until Feb. 18 to participate in the current CRP signup.

Rader said that during the last signup, all county landowners who applied were accepted into the program, which added about 28 landowners and about 1,300 acres. Further, he said, land in the Stranger Creek basin is given priority.

Most CRP ground in the county is in a 10-year contract and is made up of native grasses and forbs, Rader said. A small amount of local land is in a tree-planting contract that will last 15 years.

Landowners accepted into CRP during the last signup in November 1998, receive an average of $65 per acre annually, and a 50 percent cost-share for the price of establishing the field. The lowest rate offered during this signup was $53.68, Rader said. Each soil has a rental rate.

"We look at the three predominate soils in a piece of ground and figure the acres and take the average rental rate of those acres," he said.

The land is also judged by the environmental benefit rankings, which includes such things as wildlife benefits, what will be planted, water-quality factors, reduction of erosion and enduring benefits, such as trees or native grass planted, air quality, or historical or cultural significance.

Applicants have control over what they will plant, what they bid and whether they accept cost share, Rader said. The environmental benefit rankings, bids, cost share and other factors are figured into a point system to determine what land will be accepted into CRP.

If the past trend continues, Rader said he expected 25 landowners would be accepted with the current CRP signup.

To participate, contact Rader at (913) 682-1085.

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