- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Farmers and ranchers who want to learn about the federal Conservation Reserve Program may attend one of several meetings being held across the state later this month and into next year.

The meetings will give landowners information about the program and sign-up deadlines, as well as options for landowners with expiring CRP contracts.

The Conservation Reserve Program now keeps about 24 million acres of environmentally sensitive land nationwide from being farmed. As of October 2014, Nebraska had nearly 786,000 acres in the program, which creates habitat for quail, pheasant, prairie chickens and other wildlife and helps protect streams, lakes and rivers.

Farmers receive annual rental payments on 10-, 15- and 20-year contracts.

The meetings began Wednesday and will continue through the end of January.

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