Conservation Reserve Program Sign Ups Begin in June

Brian German Environment, Industry

Conservation Reserve Program

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be accepting applications for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) beginning June 3 for a number of specific activities covered under the continuous CRP signup.  Extensions for expiring CRP contracts will also be available now that the program has been reauthorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.  CRP remains one of the largest conservation programs in the country.

“USDA offers a variety of conservation programs to farmers and ranchers, and the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool for private lands management,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said in a news release. “CRP allows agricultural producers to set aside land to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

Fordyce also noted that FSA has evaluated the language in the farm bill and determined that a limited sign-up with a focus on water-quality practices will benefit overall conservation goals while FSA continues to work toward full implementation of the program.  Last fall, when the 2014 Farm Bill authority expired, continuous CRP signup applications were no longer accepted by FSA.

The continuous CRP signup will include several different conservation practices that prioritize water quality.  Some of the activities include filter strips, wetland restoration, grassed waterways, and riparian buffers.  A comprehensive list of approved practices is available at the FSA website. Continuous signup enrollment contracts typically last between 10 and 15 years.

Current CRP participants with contracts expiring in 14 years or less will be offered a one-year extension.  A letter detailing the available options will be sent to producers who are eligible for an extension.  Producers that have expiring contracts also have the ability to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program.  FSA will also be accepting general signup applications for CRP beginning in December 2019.  A CRP Grasslands signup period will be announced at a later date.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West