The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of a new conservation initiative – Working Lands for Wildlife’s Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project, as well as the signup dates for USDA’s General Enrollment signup in the Conservation Reserve Program (General CRP), which opens March 4. 

 The General CRP signup will run from March 4th to 29th, 2024. The Working Lands for Wildlife Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project is a new effort supporting voluntary conservation of private working lands to benefit northern bobwhite quail and East-Central grasslands conservation.

General CRP

General CRP, offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees. Additionally, General CRP includes a Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to help increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping producers and landowners establish trees and permanent grasses, enhance wildlife habitat and restore wetlands.      

Landowners and producers interested in CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the deadline.      

Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project

The Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project, offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through Working Lands for Wildlife, provided dedicated funding of $13 million -- for fiscal year 2024 -- in new assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. This is for producers to help the bobwhite and other game and non-game species by managing their working lands for early successional habitat while meeting their lands natural resource and production goals.   

This new pilot also includes funding to support producers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.  

The Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project includes practices such as field borders, brush management, tillage management, prescribed burning, prescribed grazing, forest stand improvement and herbaceous weed treatment amongst others.

NRCS accepts applications year-round for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Interested producers from eligible states should contact the NRCS at their local USDA Service Center.