The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), is now accepting applications. Agricultural producers and private landowners will have until February 12 to apply for the CRP general signup. The program provides financial assistance to those implementing conservation practices.
“This signup for the Conservation Reserve Program gives producers and landowners an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said in a news release. “This program encourages conservation on sensitive lands or low-yielding acres, which provides tremendous benefits for stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife.”
Land that is not already enrolled in CRP may be offered for enrollment during the CRP general signup period. New cropland applying for the program will need to have been planted for four out of six crop years between 2021 and 2017. Other cropland eligibility requirements include having a weighted average erosion index of eight or higher or be located in a national or be expiring CRP acreage. Cropland is also eligible if it is located in a national or state CRP conservation priority area. The CRP general signup includes increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement initiative.
CRP recently marked its 35-year anniversary, having served farmers and other landowners engaged in conservation since it was signed into law in 1985. The program has helped sequester an average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases on an annual basis. More than nine billion tons of soil has also been prevented from eroding through participation in CRP. While certain COVID safety protocols are in place in most areas, all USDA Service Centers remain open for business. Those interested in applying to the CRP will need to contact their local FSA office.