THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES PROTECTION OF 2.5 MILLION ACRES OF
ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE FARMLAND
WASHINGTON, DC--Vice President Al Gore today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enroll approximately 2.5 million acres of environmentally sensitive farmland into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The program encourages farmers and ranchers to voluntarily adopt long-term conservation practices.
"This is an investment in protecting our environment that will last for years," Vice President Gore said. "The land enrolled will result in cleaner water and create vitally needed habitats for wildlife. The payoff will be in a better, cleaner, environment for all Americans, while providing income stability for hardworking family farmers and ranchers who voluntarily practice good land stewardship."
The CRP is an effective, voluntary approach to improving the environment using partnerships between producers and the USDA. By enrolling highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land, producers receive 10 to 15 year contracts that provide them with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance.
"By partnering with USDA to remove their environmentally sensitive lands from production, our Nation's farmers and ranchers continue to demonstrate their commitment to the environment," Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said.
Today's announcement increases the total enrollment in the CRP to approximately 33.5 million acres as of October 2000. Earlier this year, the Administration urged Congress to support its Farm Safety Net proposal that would expand the CRP acreage to 40.0 million acres from its current 36.4 million acre enrollment cap.
"Conservation programs are a crucial part of the farm safety net," Vice President Gore said. "Expanding CRP will allow farmers and ranchers more options to protect their fragile lands without sacrificing farm income."
Producers interested in the CRP's continuous sign-up option may sign-up throughout the year at local USDA service centers. Additional CRP information can be found on the USDA's website: www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crpinfo.htm