Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a federally-funded and voluntary land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Agricultural producers and landowners can sign-up to ensure that environmentally sensitive agricultural land is not farmed or ranched but instead devoted to conservation benefits.
In 2021, the USDA announced updates to CRP and extended the deadline for enrollment as farmers and landowners evaluated their options. That year, producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP sign-ups, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP sign-up in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022. This year’s General CRP sign-up ends March 11, and the Grassland CRP sign-up will run from April 4 to May 13.
General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.
Additionally, Grassland CRP is a working lands program, helping landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations and provides important carbon sequestration benefits to deliver lasting climate outcomes.
Alongside these programs, producers and landowners can enroll acres in Continuous CRP under the ongoing sign-up, including projects available through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE).
For additional information on the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Programs, visit: here.