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The fundraising campaign for the 12.45 acre Travis Country remnant Live Oak Savanna has been renewed. The remnant, located in the center of…Read more of this >>
Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is an African grass introduced to the Americas through the bedding on the slave ships of pre-Civil War times.
The USDA has announced a program for restoring habitat (i.e. native prairie) on former cropland for species that are identified at risk in State Wildlife Action Plans like grassland birds, native bees, and butterflies. Texas’ State Wildlife Action Plan lists Blackland Prairie and Coastal Prairies and Marshes as the top two priority regions, and grassland birds are a large part of the at risk species for those regions.
Only land that was in crop production 4 out of 6 years between 1996 and 2002 qualifies.
Payments for land management and restoration
Up to 90% cost share – the cost to prepare habitat and plant vegetation for wildlife.
50% cost share for management, such as prescribed burns, that is required to maintain the vegetation for wildlife during the 10-15 year contract.
Whole fields can be enrolled as well as stream and wetland buffers.
Payments to the farmer’s pocket:
Annual rental payments based on average rental rates for the 3 predominant soils on the cropland being enrolled for the length of the CRP contract (10-15 years). Nationwide, the average rental rate is $49/ac and varies from $27/ac to $122/ac in state averages.
An additional $100/acre upfront incentive payment.
These funds can be combined with other funding and programs, for example to: offer additional money to turn a temporary contract into a permanent conservation easement. Read more in the USDA/Environmental Defense announcement.
If you own a native prairie, please consider a conservation easement with NPAT to protect your prairie. The Pension Reform bill helps family farmers, ranchers, and other moderate-income landowners get a significant tax benefit for making the charitable donation of a conservation easement, restricting future development of their land to protect an important public resource.
The conservation tax incentive, in place for 26 years, has been adjusted to:
Raise the maximum deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year to 50%;
Allow farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of AGI; and
Extend the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for a voluntary conservation agreement from 5 to 15 years.
These expanded benefits only apply to conservation easements donated before the end of 2007 (unless Congress passes another bill extending or making them permanent).