More Than $1.77 Billion Paid Out Through Conservation Reserve Program

Brian GermanConservation, Environment, USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allocated over $1.77 billion this year for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). With more than 667,000 participants, CRP has dispersed payments to farmers and landowners for voluntary conservation efforts on over 23 million acres of private land. Notably, CRP has expanded by 21 percent in enrolled acres since 2021.


“We’ve made the Conservation Reserve Program better for our nation’s natural resources and for our agricultural producers and landowners,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “These producers and landowners voluntarily place their land under contract and, in the spirit of stewardship, agree to establish and maintain prescribed conservation practices for the life of contract.”

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has made several improvements to the program since 2021, including the introduction of a new climate-smart practice incentive for CRP general and continuous signups. Other improvements include rewarding participants implementing conservation practices that enhance carbon sequestration and diminish greenhouse gas emissions. The FSA has also introduced additional flexibility in soil rental rate adjustments, with the possibility of rate increases where appropriate. Payments for practice incentives have risen from 20 percent to 50 percent, further encouraging continuous CRP practices.

Water quality practices rates have increased from 10 percent to 20 percent for selected practices available through the CRP continuous signup. Furthermore, a Grassland CRP minimum rental rate has been established, benefiting over 1,000 counties where rates were previously below the $13 minimum. Significant enhancements have also been made to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), reducing barriers and making it more accessible to a broader range of agricultural producers and conservation partners.

In 2023, FSA’s conservation programs have excelled, enrolling 3.9 million acres in CRP, including 927,000 acres in General CRP, 2.3 million acres in Grassland CRP, and 694,000 acres in Continuous CRP. These results underscore CRP’s ongoing significance as a tool for producers to invest in the long-term sustainability and profitability of their land and natural resources.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West