Owners and operators of certain cropland in designated geographic areas may enroll eligible land in a new continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) conservation practice titled State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), also known as CP38.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will conduct sign-up for SAFE on a continuous (ongoing) basis. Through continuous CRP sign-up, USDA accepts offers by producers, provided the land and producer meet certain eligibility requirements. Producers can offer land for enrollment in SAFE and other CRP programs at their local FSA service center.
USDA has approved SAFE proposals to address state and regional high-priority wildlife objectives. SAFE practices provide the flexibility to meet the specific needs of high-value wildlife species in a participating state or region. Conservation practices currently offered under CRP are fine-tuned through SAFE to improve, connect or create higher-quality habitat to promote healthier ecosystems in areas identified as essential to effective management of high-priority species. USDA’s goal is to restore or enhance 500,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
Producers within a SAFE area can submit offers to voluntarily enroll acres in CRP contracts for 10-15 years (the contract length depends on the SAFE proposal authorized for the area). In exchange, producers receive annual CRP rental payments, incentives and cost-share assistance to establish habitat-enhancing natural covers on eligible land. Producers enrolling in CRP enter into contracts with USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). FSA administers CRP on behalf of CCC.
Full SAFE Fact Sheet
The goal of the Texas Mixed Grass SAFE project is to enroll 122,700 acres in CRP to reconnect geographically and reproductively isolated populations of lesser prairie chickens by creating native mixed grass prairie and travel corridors.
Oklahoma Mixed Grass Prairie SAFE
The goal of the Oklahoma Mixed Grass Prairie SAFE project is to enroll 15,100 acres in CRP to restore mixed-grass prairie type associations in northwestern Oklahoma to benefit northern bobwhite, Cassin's sparrow and other grassland birds.
New Mexico Lesser Prairie Chicken SAFE
The goal of the New Mexico Lesser Prairie Chicken SAFE project is to enroll 2,600 acres in CRP in the eastern part of the state to benefit the lesser prairie chicken by restoring native grasslands for breeding and brood-rearing. In eastern New Mexico, this bird and other species have been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Kansas Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat SAFE
The goal of the Kansas Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat SAFE project is to enroll 52,100 acres in CRP to restore mixed-grass prairies to maintain and enhance lesser prairie chicken populations. The lesser prairie chicken is a candidate for federal listing as a threatened or endangered species.
Colorado Lesser Prairie Chicken SAFE
The goal of the Colorado Lesser Prairie Chicken SAFE project is to restore and enhance 21,500 acres of short and midgrass sand sagebrush prairie to maintain and enhance lesser prairie chicken populations in Colorado.