Farm Service Agency (FSA) in US has developed a Web-based software that will more efficiently rank land offers based on environmental benefits and cost, calculate maximum payment rates and provide eligibility determinations.
The software incorporates several databases, including soils, Conservation Priority Areas and watersheds, to allow for more precise eligibility, financial and other determinations in a timely fashion. These enhancements will speed the land-offer process and require less FSA processing time, resulting in program cost savings.
FSA also has developed a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) GIS tool to be used by county offices to calculate acreage and the maximum soil rental rate for land being offered. FSA has been working to transform all of its farmland maps to a digital or GIS format. This conversion allows for more accurate acreage calculations and for a more precise mapping of soil types. The GIS tool will also reduce the manual tracking and calculations done in the county offices and result in more efficient program administration.
The CRP allows agricultural landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland. The Commodity Credit Corp. pays annual rental payments based on the agriculture rental value of the land and provides cost-share assistance for up to 50 percent of the participant’s costs in establishing approved conservation practices. Participants enroll in conservation contracts for 10 to 15 years.