USDA began offering early re-enrollment and contract extensions on Aug. 30 for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres that begin expiring in 2007. The general signup period ends Sept. 24.

The move was initiated by the Bush Administration to ensure vital conservation under the CRP program continues. In addition, the administration announced two new conservation initiatives to protect and increase wildlife and wetlands.

One will create 250,000 acres of habitat for the northern bobwhite quail, a native quail species with a historic range in 35 states. The other will create 250,000 acres of wetlands and playa lakes in non-floodplain areas, which is vital habitat for species such as upland ducks, pheasants and sandhill cranes.

Program sign-up for both initiatives begins Oct. 1 at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Landowners should check with their local FSA office for eligibility. More information is available at local FSA offices and on FSA's Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov.