About 25 people interested in learning more about North Dakota's Conservation Reserve Program attended an informational session at Minot's Grand International Inn this past Wednesday. Andrew Ahrens, Pheasants Forever biologist, Devils Lake, explained to landowners the various features and benefits of enrolling acreage in CRP.
"Basically I showed them the ins and outs of general CRP signup and explained the EBI, or Environmental Benefits Index," said Ahrens. "I showed them what they can do for enhancements or boost their score to get in so they can decide whether or not they want to do it."
The state's CRP acreage has been on the decline lately but the popular program remains in place. It allows landowners to receive payment in exchange for idle land on which specified cover is grown. Landowners followed up after the meeting by asking Ahrens myriad questions about the benefits of CRP enrollment and how they can best improve their property so that they qualify for CRP at a higher level. Several indicated to Ahrens that they intended to re-enroll in CRP.
"I was impressed by the good turnout," noted Ahrens. "CRP is very important. Pheasants (Forever) needs grasslands. It is the most important thing. Other wildlife, you name it, lives off grasslands."
CRP is ranked according to several criteria, including the type of plants contained on the proposed CRP. Water is also part of the ranking criteria.
"This was very good," Ahrens said when asked about the meeting and attendee response. "I've been talking to a lot of people."