DENVER (AP) -- Sections of Colorado and Washington state have been added to a federal agriculture conservation program to protect birds.

The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers not to grow crops on land that is habitat for rare or endangered wildlife.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that 38,000 acres in Douglas County, Wash., have been designated as conservation land for sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse. The department also named 7,000 acres in southeast Colorado for lesser prairie chickens.

Farmers aren't required to stop farming designated land. But farmers who volunteer eligible land can get $100 an acre, plus the USDA covers 40 percent of recommended conservation costs.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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