Wildlife and their habitats play an important part in the agriculture ecosystem. Pollinators like bees and butterflies help nurture and spread plant life, affecting 35% of the world’s food crop. Additionally, pollinator habitat provides beneficial cover to soil, preventing erosion and protecting against water run-off.
Other wildlife, such as ducks and pheasants, share a similar importance, feeding off pests and insects known to damage crops. Their habitat provides crucial protection and support for soil and water quality as well.
Modern farming has eliminated significant portions of wildlife habitat through fence row to fence row planting, herbicides, and other practices aimed at maximizing crop yield. Ironically, the elimination of wildlife habitat around farmlands has lead to a decrease in soil health and water quality, adversely affecting crop output.
That’s why the Conservation Reserve Program was expanded to include wildlife preservation. CRP was originally created in 1985 to combat soil erosion and improve water quality through the establishment of cool season sod forming grasses and legumes like clover and alfalfa. The 1990 farm bill added support for wetland practices. The 1996 farm bill placed further emphasis on wildlife, adding further habitat support. CRP seed mix options started to include native warm season grasses and forbs and wildlife food plots instead of just cool season grasses and legumes.
Finally, the 2008 farm bill brought support for pollinator habitat.
Farmers and landowners looking to enroll in CRP and support wildlife conservation have a number of options available to them, depending on their land and the length of time they’re looking to enroll. Habitat establishment offers numerous benefits beyond the financial reimbursement that comes with CRP.
Wildlife habitat protects and nurtures soil, maintains water supplies, reduces the need for fertilizers, and improves overall crop health. The wildlife living there provide further benefits to the surrounding community, both ecologically and economically.
Establishing a Successful CRP Wildlife Habitat
CRP offers more acres for wildlife habitat establishment than any other government program. However, establishing wildlife habitat through CRP requires diverse seed mixes, specialized equipment, and further requirements that need to be followed closely.
Specialized farm bill biologists can help create CRP plans to make sure wildlife habitat is taken into consideration. FDCE is experienced in working with these complex plans so that the landowner doesn’t have to.
With FDCE, you’re not simply hiring CRP contractors. We are a full-service solution that handles the entire establishment process, from seed purchasing to planting to providing you and FSA with all of the paperwork required for program compliance and cost share reimbursement.
If you’d like a quote, or you just have a few questions, contact us today. We can help you decide what wildlife-friendly CRP practice works best for you.