USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is an agricultural land conservation program administrated by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Twenty years after its inception in 1985, CRP had reduced 450 million tons of soil erosion per year, restored 2 million acres of wetlands and adjacent buffers, reduced 48 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air, and protected 170,000 miles of stream. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas currently has 3 million acres enrolled in CRP.
CRP offers an annual rental payment for enrolled lands. Landowners can restore wetland function and wetland vegetation on farmed lands, remove highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land from production, or enroll grasslands into a managed grazing program. Rental payment varies based on soil type but the Texas average as of January 2015 was $36.52 per acre.
Unlike CCRP, CRP signup is competitive and offers are ranked on a national level. The ranking is based on environmental benefits from the proposed conservation measures and the environmental sensitivity of the land. CRP generally enrolls entire fields rather than portions of fields. Contracts are usually 10 to 15 years and can be re-enrolled in the program at the end of the contract on a competitive basis. Most contracts extend to only 10 years; the 15 year contacts tend to be utilized for tree planting.
CRP General Signup is announced periodically by the Secretary of Agriculture, rather than at any fixed time. At that time, USDA accepts bids for CRP general enrollment. Eligible land includes riparian buffers, highly erodible cropland, marginal pasture land, grasslands, and other cropland under certain conditions.
- General CRP Sign-Up announcement is made periodically by the Secretary of Agriculture. General sign-up can be announced at any time on the USDA’s Newsroom webpage.
In May 2015, Secretary Vilsack announced CRP general signup for enrollment of an additional 800,000 acres into the CRP program will be held December 1, 2015 through February 26, 2016. Existing program participants with contracts expiring September 30, 2015 will be granted an option for one-year extension. Visit the USDA FSA Program Page to learn more. Contact you local USDA Service Center to get started on this process.