Oklahoma: Landowners Can Play it SAFE to Aid Bobwhites, Monarchs
Oklahoma landowners have until February 12 to sign up in the USDA’s Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). And as part of the CRP signup, landowners may choose to enroll in the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, with the goal of restoring grasslands to benefit Northern bobwhites and monarch butterflies.
The CRP cover option CP-38 is targeted to primarily north-central and western Oklahoma (see map); SAFE is not available for landowners outside the specified areas.
This SAFE program was developed from an initial proposal by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. It operates in the mixed-grass and tall-grass prairie regions of the state. In addition to providing valuable habitat for monarchs and butterflies, SAFE also benefits many other grassland wildlife species. Indirectly, CRP and SAFE areas also provide improved water and air quality, reduced soil erosion, and greater opportunities for outdoor recreation.
To be eligible for CRP, land must be cropland that was planted, or considered planted, to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2012-17, and be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity. Expiring CRP acres would also be eligible, provided they can or will meet the cover requirements.
Your local USDA field office can explain SAFE cover requirements. A directory of offices is at www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
To see a fact sheet about CRP and SAFE, go to https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/sites/default/files/2021 CRP Sign Up Info Fact Sheet.pdf.
During winter, SAFE program areas provide enhanced cover to benefit Northern bobwhites and many other upland species.
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Website: wildlifedepartment.com Telephone: (405) 521-4632