Conservation Reserve Program

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for the largest private land conservation program in the country, following a shortfall in enrollment and change in the White House. 

The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers and ranchers to preserve land for 10 to 15 years, but it saw a shortfall of 4 million acres under the Trump administration. As of December 2020, there are 20.8 million acres enrolled in the program. 

With President Biden’s focus on mitigating climate change, the USDA extended the deadline for enrollment. 

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

Mary Chris Barth knows how important it is to control the soil in the panhandle of Oklahoma. She’s the child of parents that grew up in the Dust Bowl. When farmers started planting fence row to fence row in the 1970s and removing the native plants from the soil, she remembers farmers trying to control the dust. Barth, a former president of the Beaver County Farm Bureau and a farmer in the area, says some of the soil should have never been touched.