Mississippi Black Bear CRP SAFE Practice
BEaR and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) jointly developed, submitted and got approved a State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) project in 2007. The USDA, Farm Services Agency (FSA) administers the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) under the federal Farm Bill. The FSA began a new CCRP initiative in 2007 called SAFE to install practices that benefit high priority state wildlife objectives through the use of targeted restoration of vital habitats. SAFE practices are used to restore threatened and endangered species habitat and/or habitat for species that have suffered a significant decline. SAFE uses the existing CCRP framework and is called practice CP38; only existing cropland is eligible.
Landowners within the Black Bear SAFE area can submit offers to voluntarily enroll cropland acres in CCRP contracts for 15 years. In exchange, producers receive annual CRP rental payments, incentives and cost-share assistance to establish habitat-enhancing natural covers on eligible land. Landowners enrolling in CCRP enter into contracts with USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). FSA administers CRP on behalf of CCC.
To be eligible under CCRP sign-up practices, offered land must be in the Black Bear SAFE project area and meet basic CRP eligibility requirements. Eligible land is cropland that was planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity during four of the six years from 2008 to 2013. The land must be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity.
The Mississippi Black Bear SAFE developed by BEaR and TNC is authorized and fully funded to restore 7,950 acres of cropland in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley to bottomland hardwoods and/or semi-permanent wetlands. These acres are being restored in the existing black bear habitat conservation priority areas to provide corridors and high quality bear habitat. The CCRP funded habitat project is approved for almost $9.9 million. This project will remain active until all 7,950 acres of cropland have been restored to quality bear habitat.
Interested in enrolling cropland in SAFE? Check and see if your land is located in the Mississippi Black Bear SAFE area map (PDF). For more information about the black bear SAFE practice, check out the Mississippi Black Bear SAFE Fact Sheet.