Landowners who have been actively farming four of the last six
years and would like to retire their croplands are encouraged to
participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation
Landowners who have been actively farming four of the last six years and would like to retire their croplands are encouraged to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program.
The program is designed to reduce erosion and increase the wildlife habitat by retiring highly erodible active farmland.
“They (farmers) can use the program to enhance the wildlife and improve the conditions of the land by agreeing to retire it for 10 years,” said Michelle Satterlee of the Farm Service Agency.
For a few reasons, however, Satterlee said she does not expect a great deal of participation from San Benito County farmers.
“In San Benito County there is a lot of rangeland used as grazing, so it does not qualify,” she said.
Also, she said, the county is regarded as very valuable farmland compared to what the USDA can offer for its rental easement.
“It’s more valuable for them to keep farming the land, then pull out of production,” Satterlee said. “This program works particularly well in the Midwest, where it’s more popular.”
National rental rates are set by soil type and county. Depending on the soil conditions of the cropland, rental payments range anywhere from $15 to $25 an acre.
“The rates are higher in Santa Clara County,” Satterlee said. “What we can give them in this county, the rental payments are not enough for them to retire their land.”
To complete a bid application, landowners should contact the Farm Service Agency at 637-4360.