What Is The Conservation Subsidy?

What is the Conservation Reserve Program?

  • The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays a yearly rental payment in exchange for farmers removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental quality.

What is a conservation subsidy?

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays a yearly rental payment in exchange for farmers removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental quality.

How much is CRP per acre?

The national average CRP rental rate was $82 per acre.

What does CRP mean for land?

About the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.

Can you graze cattle on CRP land?

Haying and grazing of CRP acres is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters. There are two types of haying and grazing authorization: non-emergency and emergency.

Is CRP land a good investment?

CRP is a Long-Term Investment Having healthy soil and controlling soil erosion will pay big dividends in the long run. Enrolling land in the CRP Program is a long-term strategy that can and will benefit your pocketbook, as well as the environment.

What is the difference between CRP and CREP?

While general CRP and CCRP are strictly federal programs, CREP is a joint initiative between federal and state governments. Because of this, CREP participants can sometimes enjoy additional incentives, higher cost-share reimbursement rates, etc. CREP isn’t available everywhere, however.

How much do farmers get paid for CRP?

The CRP offers annual rental payments ranging from $10 per acre to nearly $300 per acre to farmers and landowners for voluntarily removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production.

Is CRP income taxable?

CRP “annual rental payments” are not rental income for federal tax purposes. Although the payments are called “annual rental payments” for purposes of the CRP, these payments are not rental payments for federal tax purposes. Generally, a rental payment is an amount paid for the use or occupancy of property.

What is on farm conservation?

On-farm conservation is the sustainable main- tenance of landraces and obsolete cultivars (lines, populations) by growing them in conformity with environmental conditions; additionally, using grow- ing technologies close to the conditions under which these materials had originated and evolved.

Can you sell CRP land?

Participants may sell land that is under a CRP contract. The producer that purchases the land then will have an option to continue that CRP contract or not.

Are CRP payments made in arrears?

Check statements. The rents coming out this month cover the October 2013 through September 2014 contract period, since payments are made in arrears. CRP participants are encouraged to look closely at their benefit statements this year to verify that the correct amounts were issued on their participating acres.

Can you bale hay on CRP land?

USDA allows haying and grazing of CRP ground, but you must follow the rules. FAQ: I have 60 acres enrolled in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program.

What infections cause high CRP?

These include:

  • Bacterial infections, such as sepsis, a severe and sometimes life-threatening condition.
  • A fungal infection.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, a disorder that causes swelling and bleeding in the intestines.
  • An autoimmune disorder such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • An infection of the bone called osteomyelitis.

Is the CRP program going away?

WASHINGTON, February 5, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup period, which had previously been announced as ending on Feb. 12, 2021.

Conservation Programs

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of a variety of voluntary conservation-related initiatives. A wide range of conservation concerns relating to farming and ranching are addressed through these projects, which include the following:

  • Drinking water protection, soil erosion reduction, wildlife habitat preservation, and the preservation and restoration of forests and wetlands are all priorities. Providing assistance to farmers whose crops have been devastated by natural catastrophes

Preserving drinking water; reducing soil erosion; preserving wildlife habitats; and restoring forests and wetlands are all important goals. Farmers whose farms have been harmed by natural calamities are being assisted.

Conservation Reserve Program

Farmers who remove ecologically vulnerable land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental quality are compensated with an annual rental payment under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Visit the Conservation Reserve Program page for more information. Read the fact sheet on the CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

CREP, an extension of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), focuses on high-priority conservation concerns that have been recognized by the government and non-governmental groups. It is possible to have farmland removed from production in return for annual rental payments if it comes under these conservation considerations. Visit the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program website for more information.

Emergency Conservation Program

During severe droughts, the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) offers financing and technical help to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland that has been destroyed by natural catastrophes and to implement emergency water conservation measures on farms. Visit the page for the Emergency Conservation Program.

Emergency Forest Restoration Program

While the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Emergency Contingency Plan (ECP) are quite similar, the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) offers money to rehabilitate privately owned woods that have been destroyed by natural catastrophes. Visit the page for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program.

Farmable Wetlands Program

The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) is a federally funded initiative that aims to restore wetlands and wetland buffer zones on agricultural land. Farmers and ranchers get yearly rental payments from the Federal Watershed Protection Program in exchange for restoring wetlands and growing plant cover. Visit the Farmable Wetlands Program page for more information.

Grassland Reserve Program

This program attempts to keep grazing and pasture land from being turned into farmland or being used for urban development by preventing it from being converted into cropland or utilized for urban development. Agricultural landowners receive a rental payment in exchange for voluntarily restricting the future development of their property. Visit the Grassland Reserve Program page for more information.

Source Water Protection Program

It is the goal of the Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) to safeguard surface and ground water that is used for drinking water by rural populations.

The program selects states based on the quality of their water and the size of their populations. Visit the Source Water Protection website for more information. Visit Ask USDA for a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.

Conservation Reserve Program

The Conservation Reserve Initiative (CRP) is a land conservation program run by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers that participate in the program agree to withdraw ecologically sensitive land from agricultural production and to plant species that will improve the health and quality of the environment in exchange for an annual rental payment from the program. The duration of contracts for land enrolled in CRP is between 10 and 15 years. The program’s long-term purpose is to re-establish useful land cover in order to aid in the improvement of water quality, the prevention of soil erosion, and the reduction of loss of animal habitat.

  • The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has improved water quality, decreased soil erosion, and enhanced habitat for endangered and vulnerable species as a result of the voluntary cooperation of farmers and landowners.
  • The Continuous CRP Signup is now taking place.
  • More information may be found in our news release from January 26, 2022.
  • The number of acres signed up this year exceeded the USDA’s 4 million-acre target.
  • More information may be found in our news release from September 10, 2021.
  • More information may be found in our news release from August 23, 2021.
  • For additional information on the changes to CRP, please see our “What’s New with CRP” fact sheet or our April 21, 2021 press release.
  • A total of $10 million in funding was given by the USDA to three partners in October 2021 who will monitor and quantify the impact of important CRP techniques on soil carbon.

Perennial grasses, tree plantings, and wetland restoration are examples of such approaches. For further information, please see the news releases from October 12, 2021 and May 25, 2021, respectively, or visit our website on CRP Monitoring, Assessment, and Evaluation initiatives.

CRP Resources

  • Fact sheets on the CRP include: CRP fact sheet
  • CRP General Enrollment Signup fact sheet
  • CRP 58th General Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) fact sheet
  • CRP Tip fact sheet
  • CRP Continuous Signup fact sheet
  • CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) Initiative fact sheet
  • CRP Clean Lakes Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative and New Prairie Strip practice fact sheet
  • CRP Grasslands Working Land fact sheet
  • CRP

Conservation Reserve Program – Wikipedia

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a cost-sharing and rental payment program that provides payments to landowners (USDA). Under the program, farmers are compensated for removing certain agriculturally used croplands from production and converting them to vegetative cover, such as cultivated ornativebunchgrasses andgrasslands, wildlife and pollinator food and shelter plantings, windbreak and shade trees, filter and buffer strips, grassed waterways, and riparian buffers, among other things.


The program originally began in the 1950s as the conservation branch of the Soil Bank Program, which was established by the Agricultural Act of 1956 and sanctioned by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the theory behind this branch of the Soil Bank Program, the goal was to target lands that were at high risk of erosion, remove them from agricultural production, and replace them with native or alternative permanent vegetative cover in an effort to mitigate actual or potential soil erosion.

To begin with, the initiative called for three-year contracts in which the government would pay for land improvements that improved soil, water, forestry, or wildlife quality in exchange for the farmer’s agreement not to harvest or graze the government-funded property during that time.

This was in response to more prevalent practices of the 1970s, in which farmers increasingly began to cultivate “fencerowto-fencerow” and remove native habitat and vegetative stands from their fields, which was perceived to be having detrimental effects on soil, water, and habitat quality.

The CRP has undergone several transformations.

1985 Farm Bill

The Farm Bill of 1985 was the first piece of legislation that formally established the CRP in its current form. When compared to the restrictions of the program established by the Agricultural Act of 1954, a significant number of adjustments were implemented in this Farm Bill. For example, contract terms were lengthened from the prior three-year commitment to somewhere between 10 and 15 years, as opposed to the previous three-year commitment. The logic for this decision was that it would give the new vegetative cover and other management measures more time to establish itself and deliver the intended results in the long run.

Furthermore, any farming or grazing on property that had been registered in CRP was outlawed by this legislation, thereby eliminating any CRP area from agricultural production altogether.

1990 Farm Bill

Major changes were made to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as a result of the Farm Bill of 1990, which included expanding the list of eligible lands to include marginal pasture lands that had been converted to wetlands or established as wildlife habitat prior to enactment of the 1990 Farm Bill, marginal pasture lands that had been devoted to trees in or near riparian areas, lands that the Secretary may determine pose an environmental threat to water quality, croplands converted to grassed waterways or strips as part of a Because of this significant expansion in the sorts of qualifying lands, areas that were not truly “very erodible,” but were also not in production, may be recognized as beneficial to the environment in the surrounding region, despite the fact that they were not “extremely erodible.” Along with that change, there were a number of other minor variations between this Bill and the one that came before it.

A number of provisions of the Farm Bill of 1990 were implemented: limited fall and winter grazing on CRP-enrolled land was permitted, “alley cropping” between hardwoodtree stands was permitted in exchange for paying less money to the landowner, the 50 percent cost share was expanded from only vegetative cover to include hardwood trees as well as shelterbelts, windbreaks, and wildlife corridors, and land already enrolled in the CRP that had been converted to vegetative cover could be converted to hardwood trees, windbreaks This was a significant adjustment to the Farm Bill program since it switched the CRP’s emphasis away from agriculture conservation and production and toward a more comprehensive environmental conservation program that focused on natural resources and general environmental conservation.

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1996 Farm Bill

The CRP did not see significant modifications as a result of the 1996 Farm Bill. The most significant modification was made in respect to the early termination of CRP contracts. After five years, contracts might be terminated with the exception of filter strips, rivers, and strips next to riparian regions; property with anerodibilityindex more than 15; and other properties deemed particularly sensitive by the Secretary of the Interior. Additionally, cropping history became an element of the eligibility mechanism that is used to assess whether or not a parcel of land should be registered in the Conservation Reserve Program.

Because of severe rainfall or floods, the Appropriations Bill of 2001 allowed for an exemption to the requirement that landowners grow vegetative cover; similarly, the Appropriations Bill of 2002 established a new pilot program for the enrolment of wetland and buffer acres in CRP.

2002 Farm Bill

When the 2002 Farm Bill altered the program’s standards, the criterion for cropping history went from two out of the previous five years to four out of the previous six years. In order to ensure that the land registered in the program was genuinely farmland, rather than land that had been cultivated for two years just for the purpose of being enrolled, this procedure was followed. The other alteration was made in order to expand the number of eligible lands. Land under expiring contracts is immediately eligible to be considered for re-enrollment under this Farm Bill; contracts ending during 2002 might be extended by one year; and existing covers must be kept, if at all possible, when expiring contracts are re-enrolled under this Farm Bill.

2008 Farm Bill

Following a legal challenge in the previous years, the 2008 Farm Bill stated that alfalfa grown in approved crop rotation practices is considered an agricultural commodity and can be used to satisfy the requirement that eligible land be cropped in four out of six prior seasons, which had been challenged in the previous years. The bill also included provisions for management and cost-share incentives for thinning in order to enhance the state of resources on property that include trees, windbreaks, shelter belts, and wildlife corridors.

Agencies involved

A total of four major agencies are participating in the program: the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Natural Resources Conservation Service) (NRCS). The USDA is the governing organization that works to put together the CRP with each Farm Bill, and they are at the very top of the chain of command when it comes to the program’s administration. During the enrollment process, landowners engage into contracts with the Conservation Conservation Business (CCC), which is a corporation run by the USDA.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the technical agency that supports CRP by executing it on private properties.

Enrollment procedures

Despite the fact that the CRP may be helpful to many parts of the environment, not every landowner is able or wants to participate in the program, which is understandable. The most significant obstacle restricting the quantity of land that may be included in the program is a lack of funds. Each Farm Bill determines the amount of money that will be allocated to rental payments and cost share subsidies in the next fiscal year’s budget. Given the limited amount of money available, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can only offer incentive payments to the most qualified property owners.

CRP is also deemed undesirable by some landowners because it inhibits or limits the use of their land for agricultural production, hence limiting farm revenue and diminishing the value of their property.

Provisionally approved proposals are those that are not subject to competitive bidding and are made only if the property and the landowner fit the parameters of the program.

Landowner requirements

In order to be eligible for CRP continuous sign-up enrollment, a landowner must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to submitting the offer, unless the new landowner acquired the land as a result of the previous landowner’s death, ownership change occurred as a result of foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right of redemption in accordance with state law, or the circumstances of the acquisition provide sufficient assurance to FSA that the new owner did not acquire the land as a result of the In order to be eligible for payments, landowners must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and their income must not exceed specific levels.

Land requirements

A farm’s land must be recognized as “cropland” (including field margins) if it has been planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity in four of the previous six crop years from 1996 to 2001, and if it is physically and legally capable of being planted to an agricultural commodity in a normal manner. Continuous CRP eligibility requires that the area be recognized as “marginal pastureland” that is flanked by a stream, creek, or river, as well as a sink-hole and/or a duck nest. In addition, the land must be suitable for certain conservation practices, such as riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass waterways, shelterbelts, living snow fences, contour grass strips, salt tolerant vegetation, and shallow water areas for wildlife to be installed.

Contract payments

Within CRP, there are three basic sorts of payments. First, there are cash payments. Rental payments, cost-sharing help, and financial incentives are examples of such arrangements.

Rental payments

Landowners get rental payments from the Federal Land Administration in exchange for establishing long-term land cover. There are two primary criteria that influence the amount of money that is paid for these payments: the productivity of the soils in the region and the average dry land crop rent or cash rent equivalent. The yearly rental rate, on the other hand, may not be greater than the maximum payment amount allowed by the FSA. Participants who build authorized cover on qualifying farmland are eligible for cost-share support from the Farm Service Agency.

Financial incentives

The Federal Soil and Water Conservation Service (FSA) provides an extra financial incentive of up to 20% of the soil-rental rate for field windbreaks, grass rivers, filter strips, and riparian buffers as part of or in addition to rental rate agreements. Additional percentages might also be included in the total to cover the costs of maintenance and upkeep of the CRP areas.

Environmental benefits

CRP is beneficial to a wide range of native plants, animals, and habitats.

The stability and health of ecosystems and processes that occur in and around an agricultural field, as well as the overall health of the environment, may be greatly influenced by even something as simple as a filter strip between an agricultural field and a stream.

Soil erosion

When the CRP was initially established, the primary objective was to reduce soil erosion caused by agricultural practices. Today, the consequences of CRP on erosion are plainly obvious in the environment. Soil productivity is protected by creating conservation covers on at-risk property in order to prevent sheet, rill, and wind erosion, among other things. As of December 1, 2015, the CRP had averted the erosion of more than 9 billion tons of soil worldwide.

Water quality

Another notable benefit of CRP is the enhancement of water quality by minimizing soil erosion and surface runoff into water bodies, which is one of its most significant advantages. Chemical fertilizers, nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus), and sediments were some of the most prevalent discharge components from agricultural regions in the United States. These contaminants, which are all capable of affecting the environmental health of water bodies, are listed below. Aerial filters and buffer strips installed at the perimeter of agricultural fields can capture runoff materials and prevent them from leaving the area altogether.

Wildlife benefits

CRP has also been shown to assist animals, particularly birds. Among the most noticeable increases in bird population have been those of native birds such as the Prairie Pothole Duck, Redhead (duck), Sage grouse, and other grassland birds, as well as a non-native migratory species, thering-necked pheasants: Prairie Pothole Duck, Redhead (duck), Sage grouse, and grassland birds.

  • Since 1992, the population of ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region has increased by 30 percent
  • Over the period 1970 to 1988, the establishment of conservation reserve land in sage grouse territory was found to have significantly reduced the decline of these birds
  • Studies have estimated that without the establishment of conservation reserve land, grasslandbird populations in the Prairie Pothole region would have declined anywhere from 2 to 52 percent
  • An increase in CRP acreage in key pheasant districts of four percent has been demonstrated to result in a 22-percent rise in ring-necked pheasant populations, according to research.

See also

  • Farmable Wetlands Program, habitat conservation, overgrazing, Soil Bank Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and Wilderness Act are some of the terms used to describe the Conservation Security Program.


  • “2008 Farm Bill Side-by-Side.” Cain, Zachary, and Stephen Lovejoy. “2008 Farm Bill Side-by-Side.” “The Farm Bill Conservation Programs: A Look Back and a Look Forward.” Choices Magazine’s Fourth Quarter 2004 issue is available online. “Conservation Programs,” published on November 11, 2008. The Farm Service Agency is a government agency that provides assistance to farmers. The 10th of September, 2008. USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. Delisle, Jennifer M., and Julie A. Savidge published a paper on October 23rd, 2008. “Avian Use and Vegetation Characteristics of Conservation Reserve Program Fields,” a study published in the journal Conservation Biology. 318-325
  • King, Justin W., and Julie A. Savidge, The Journal of Wildlife Management, Volume 61, Number 3, 1997. Conservation Reserve Program and Wildlife in Southeast Nebraska: Effects of Conservation Reserve Program on Wildlife in Southeast Nebraska Wildlife Society Bulletin 23(1995): 377-385
  • Doug O’Brien, Wildlife Society Bulletin 23(1995): 377-385 “Summary and Evolution of U.S. Farm Bill Conservation Titles – Expanded Discussions,” a report by the National Resources Defense Council. The Natural Agricultural Law Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of natural agriculture. Samson, Fred B., Fritz L. Knopf, and Wayne R. Ostlie published a paper on November 11, 2008, in the journal Science. « The Past, Present, and Future of the Great Plains Ecosystems. “The Conservation Reserve Program.”
  • “CRP Sign-Ups.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 32(2004): 6-15
  • “The Conservation Reserve Program.”
  • “CRP Sign-Ups.” Programs for environmental conservation. The Farm Service Agency is a government agency that provides assistance to farmers. 30 November 2008 subject=copr topic=crp-sp
  • Department of Agriculture of the United States (2008). The Conservation Reserve Program is currently inactive as of October 31, 2008. “Fact Sheets” are produced by the Farm Service Agency. Employees of the FSA April of this year (2016). The Farm Service Agency is a government agency that provides assistance to farmers. Obtainable on April 14, 2016

Conservation Reserve Program

The truth of the matter is that certain places are just more productive and better suited for agricultural production than others. Where soils are vulnerable to erosion, it is frequently preferable to keep these sensitive areas out of production and instead cover them with grass or trees to ensure the long-term health of the soil. Conservation buffers (such as riparian buffers, grassed rivers, and contour grass strips) are frequently required to prevent silt and nutrients from damaging water bodies on less marginal properties.

Farmers withdraw ecologically vulnerable land from production in exchange for cost-share and rental payments, and they plant resource-conserving land cover to conserve soil, water, and animal habitat in exchange for cost-share and rental payments.

  • Basics of the Program: Learn more about the operation of this program. Determine who is eligible to participate in this program by reviewing the eligibility criteria. A Look at the Program in Action: Read about the successes of others who have utilized this program
  • Instructions on how to apply as well as program resources: You can find out more about the application procedure and where to obtain more information. Learn about major policy changes and funding levels given by the Farm Bill, as well as the history of the program and its funding. In Spanish: If you would like more information about the FSA’s Innovation for Conservation initiative, please contact the local FSA office.
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The Fundamentals of the Program The CRP is administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is in charge of land eligibility assessments, conservation planning, and on-ground implementation. Technical assistance is provided by state forestry authorities to farmers who are enrolling freshly wooded property in the program.

Agriculture land is bid into the general signup for CRP on a competitive basis, and the land is ranked using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) to determine its ranking (EBI). The following EBI variables are now used by the FSA for General CRP, however these may change in the future:

  • The benefits of wildlife habitat
  • The benefits of water quality
  • The benefits of soil retention on farms
  • Aspects of the contract’s benefits that are likely to continue beyond the contract’s duration
  • Benefits of air quality
  • Costs of air quality

Continual Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP)– In addition to a general registration period, the CRP offers a continuous signup alternative, the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), which compensates farmers for implementing partial field conservation techniques (primarily conservation buffers or wildlife habitat).

  • In contrast to specified sign-up times, farmers and landowners can enroll their property at any time. In contrast to ordinary sign-ups, there is no bidding or ranking
  • Instead, if the land fits the eligibility requirements, it is instantly registered. Riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass streams, shelterbelts, windbreaks, living snow barriers, contour grass strips, salt tolerant plants, and shallow water areas for wildlife are all examples of CCRP qualified measures. For additional information about these practices, please see the FSA website.

In the context of the Comprehensive Conservation and Resource Program (CCRP), the 2018 Farm Bill introduces the CLEAR Initiative, which includes targeted activities to assist safeguard water quality by lowering sediment loadings, nitrogen loadings, and harmful algal blooms in freshwater bodies. A minimum of 40% of all CCRP acres must be dedicated to CLEAR, according to USDA regulations. While the Food and Drug Administration (FSA) has previously offered targeted CCRP enrollments to improve water quality, the authorisation of CLEAR instructs the FSA to give priority to CLEAR practices under continuous enrollment.

  1. In addition, the USDA may engage into a CRP Enhancement Program (CREP) arrangement with a state, in which the state and USDA jointly pay farmers to solve selected conservation concerns identified by local, state, or tribal governments or non-governmental groups.
  2. Included in this is assistance with the installation of fencing along streams and the provision of alternate water sources for cattle.
  3. By 2023, the farm bill will have increased grasslands acres by up to 2 million acres.
  4. Ten-year or fifteen-year CRP contracts are available for all sorts of CRP projects, with the lengthier 15-year agreements designed for tree planting.
  5. Whole field and grassland re-enrollments are competitive, whereas partial field CCRP re-enrollments are automatic, just as they were with the initial enrollments of the program.
  • Rental Payments: The Federal Lands Service bases rental rates on the productivity of the soils in each county as well as the average dryland cash rent in each county. The maximum rental fee for each offer is calculated prior to the participant’s acceptance into the program. To improve the probability that their offer would be accepted, producers may offer land at that price or a lower rental rate than the market standard. Rental payments available for CRP enrollments are limited to 85 percent of the average county rental rate for general enrollment and 90 percent of that anticipated cost for continuous enrollments, according to the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • Assistance with Cost-Share: The Food and Drug Administration (FSA) will contribute up to 50% of the actual or average cost of establishing a practice.
  • USDA may offer extra payments up to the actual cost of thinning and other actions to improve the condition of resources, encourage forest management, or improve animal habitat. It also maintains incentives for continuous practices such as signing incentives at a rate equal to 32.5 percent of the original rental payment, incentive bonuses for additional cost-share, and those associated with specific practices, such as buffers and wellhead areas, for certain high conservation value projects.

Participants in the CREP get an annual rental payment, as well as specific incentive payments and up to a 50 percent cost-sharing arrangement. In most cases, CREP involves a sign-up incentive as well as a commitment from members to implement specified practices. At any given moment, no more than 25 percent of a county’s farmland can be registered in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or federal wetland easements. If the county agrees, the USDA can waive this restriction in order to enroll farmland in the CCRP or CREP.

A priority is given to expiring CRP acres inside the 2 million-acre reservation for grassland enrollments; the property will continue to be classified as CRP, but its economic value will be considerably increased by the expansion of grazing and haying operations.

Through the Transition Incentives Program, the bill provides two years of additional rental payments to property owners whose CRP leases or sales are made to beginning, low-income, or veteran producers who will implement conservation practices on their property during the two-year period following the expiration of the lease.

Eligibility In order to be eligible to enroll in CRP, a producer must have owned or operated the property for at least 12 months prior to the first year of the contract period, unless the producer meets one of the following conditions:

  • The land was transferred to the new owner as a result of the death of the prior owner. The change in ownership happened as a result of a foreclosure
  • Nonetheless, FSA is convinced that the new owner did not buy the land with the intention of placing it in CRP.

Land must meet one or more of the following criteria in order to be eligible for CRP:

  • Land that has been planted or considered planted in four of the preceding six crop years and that may be planted in a conventional way
  • For usage as a riparian buffer, or for other comparable ecological and water quality goals, marginal pasture is a kind of grassland. grasslands that are ecologically valuable and support grazing through forbs or bushes
  • The creation of a farmable wetland and its associated buffers.

Exceptions to the Eligibility Rules USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) pays farmers to solve specific conservation concerns recognized by local, state, or tribal governments or non-governmental groups under the auspices of the program.

  • As a result, agreements are restricted to certain geographic regions and farms where specific conservation methods can solve high priority conservation concerns and challenges identified by the CREP project. CREP may only be used on land in states that have signed CREP agreements, thus farmers should contact their local FSA office to find out whether any land in their county is currently engaged in a CREP program. You may get state-specific fact sheets on their respective CREP agreements here
  • In states where an agreement has been reached, land can be registered in the Conservation Reserve Program (CREP) on a continuing basis, providing that it fits the program’s eligibility standards. CREP enrollment may be available for any land that fits the fundamental qualifying standards of the CRP, as well as the extra requirements for a specific CREP project. The majority of the additional CREP land eligibility requirements are related to the location and characteristics of the land to be enrolled. The 2018 Farm Bill allows nongovernmental organizations to serve as the lead partners for CREP projects, but they must contribute at least 30 percent of the total program cost in order to do so. In the event of state-led programs, the proportion will be established through an agreement between the USDA and the respective state or jurisdiction. Drought and water conservation agreements to address regional drought problems are also specifically authorized under the law. The 2018 Farm Bill also changes the funds available for riparian buffer maintenance under the CREP, guaranteeing that USDA may continue to fund regular management of the buffers for the duration of the agreement, as previously stated. Food-producing woody plants may also be included in forested riparian buffers, providing that the advantages of the buffers are preserved and that only native plants are planted within 35 feet of a watercourse.

The CLEAR Initiative (Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers) enrolls cropland, marginal pastureland, and grassland on a continuing basis to ensure that the land has a beneficial influence on water quality. Practices that are CLEAR eligible include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The following are examples of buffers: Grass stream, contour grass sod strip, prairie strip, filter strip, riparian buffer, wetland or wetland buffer, saturated buffer

During the approximately 35 years that the Program in ActionCRP has been in existence, it has assisted in the protection of tens of millions of acres of ecologically fragile farmland. As of 2019, about 24 million acres have been registered in the CRP. CRP has been employed in the following applications:

  • Native grassland and trees should be planted on marginal property in order to increase animal populations while also improving water quality and flood management. Create longer-lasting meadows of native wildflowers to attract pollinators and other animals to the area and help them thrive. Farmable wetlands should be restored, and nesting habitat should be developed in places regarded to be the most vital waterfowl habitat. Direct advantages such as chances for local children to learn about conservation and natural resources are generated through indirect benefits.

More information on how CRP has assisted in the conservation of ecologically sensitive land around the country may be found here:

  • Organic Field Border Buffers are available through the CCRP
  • The 49th CRP Sign Up Period is now underway. Enrollment in the Continuous CRP reached a new high in 2015

Instructions on how to apply as well as program resources A large proportion of CRP acres are enrolled during annual “general sign-ups,” during which property is bid into the program on a competitive basis and graded according to an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). USDA holds general sign-ups on a regular basis at periods that are advertised in advance. Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill directs the Farm Service Agency to hold a General CRP sign-up at least once a year, as well as to announce at least one Grasslands Initiative ranking period following the announcement of general enrollment offers.

To find more about current funding possibilities, including any CREP initiatives that may be taking place in your state, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.

  • Resources for the FSA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), including general resources, fact sheets on specific CRP initiatives and practices, and the ability to enroll in the program on a continuous basis. Other resources include the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the CRP Grasslands Initiative, and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

You may also keep up with the latest developments in CRP by following the NSAC’s blog series on Conservation, Energy, and the Environment. History of the program, funding, and changes to the Farm Bill The Congress established the CRP in 1985 in response to growing public concern over unacceptably high levels of soil erosion. USDA was permitted to enroll up to 45 million acres in CRP under the 1985 Farm Bill, yet actual enrollment has never exceeded 37 million acres under the program. It was lowered from 36 million acres to 32 million acres between 1985 and 2008, before being raised to 39 million acres and then reduced again, this time to 32 million acres.

  1. The CRP acreage ceiling was modestly expanded by the 2018 Farm Bill, with the cap continuing at 24 million acres in 2010 and increasing to 24.5 million acres in 2020, 25 million acres in 2021, 25.5 million acres in 2022, and eventually 27 million acres in 2023.
  2. The 2018 Farm Bill also raises the amount of land designated for CRP Grasslands from 1 million acres in 2018 to 2 million acres by 2023, and it mandates that any area designated for grasslands be registered in the project (or they can not be enrolled at all).
  3. CLEAR 30 is a new pilot program that will be implemented in 2019.
  4. As of May 2019, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects that the CRP will receive the following amount in funding each year.

Please keep in mind that because CRP is an acreage-based program, the funding amounts expected for it may vary from year to year as the CBO gathers fresh data on which to base its forecasts. Funds for the Conservation Reserve Program

Fiscal Year Estimated Annual CRP Funding (in millions)
2019 $1,730
2020 $1,728
2022 $1,834
2023 $1,904
5 yr projection $9,003
10 yr projection $16,766
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Language in Authorizing Provisions Section 2201 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 alters Section 1231 of the Food Security Act of 1985, which will be codified as 16 United States Code, Section 3831. The most recent update was in August of this year.

Conservation Programs Overview

Approximately two dozen federal conservation programs are now administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Programs for conservation on agricultural lands are voluntary federal initiatives aiming to encourage agricultural producers and landowners to implement conservation techniques on their properties. Some projects may be implemented with assistance from other government agencies such as the Forest Service.


During the Great Depression, legislation was adopted that laid the groundwork for current conservation efforts. As one historian has highlighted, “from the 1930s, the proclaimed government policy has been to favor agricultural conservation projects,” which is consistent with the current administration’s position. Dr. Neil E. Harl’s AGRICULTURAL LAW, Volume 12, Section 108.02, is available online (hereinafter Harl). The Soil Conservation Act (SCA) was passed by Congress in 1935 in order “to provide for the protection of land resources against soil erosion, among other things.” Ch.

  1. 163, enacted on April 27, 1935, as amended.
  2. Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act was passed in 1936, and it has been referred to as the “cornerstone” of government policy to support agricultural conservation initiatives.
  3. See Harl at 108.02 for further information.
  4. An other significant advance in the field of conservation initiatives happened in 1956, with the establishment of the Great Plains Conservation Program (GPCP).

GPCP conservation practices included addressing wind and water erosion and how to best utilize soil and water resources, as well as undertaking “anti-pollution measures, measures to enhance fish, wildlife, and recreation resources, and practices to promote economic land use,” according to the document.

The quantity and variety of programs available have increased dramatically in the years after the establishment of the ACP and GPCP.

Despite their technical variations, the programs have one thing in common: they are all concerned with natural resource and environmental problems related with various parts of agricultural production, regardless of their specific focus.

Types of Programs

Conservation initiatives may be classified into two categories:“land retirement” and “working lands” programs. Property retirement plans require some agricultural lands to be removed out of agricultural production and placed into a conservation-oriented use that is appropriate with the program in which the land is enrolled. Working land programs also mandate that certain conservation-oriented measures be carried out on agricultural fields. These schemes vary, however, in that they require the property to stay under agricultural cultivation.

The USDA notes that “ between 1986 through 2000, more than 90 percent of direct conservation funds were directed to land retirement programs.” USDA, Econ.

Serv., Conservation Program Design,Contrasting Working-Land and Land Retirement Programs, EB4 (2006).

In recent years, however, working lands programs have become increasingly widespread.

Major Programs

As previously stated, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) administer more than two dozen conservation programs, the most prominent of which are the Conservation Reserve Program, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the Conservation Security Program, among others. Agricultural production on millions of acres of ecologically sensitive and extremely erodible land is being phased out as part of the Conservation Reserve Scheme (CRP), which is a land retirement program.

The primary goal of the CRP is to significantly minimize the amount of soil erosion caused by agricultural output and other activities.

The CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency, with help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

CRP Contract Summary and Statistics from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

A component of the program known as Agricultural Land Easements allows the Natural Resources Conservation Service to assist American Indian tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations in protecting working agricultural lands and restricting non-agricultural uses of the land.

A voluntary working lands program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offers agricultural farmers with technical and financial help to solve natural resource challenges while also delivering environmental benefits.

Air Quality Initiative, (2) Colorado River Basin Salinity Project, (3) Conservation Innovative Grants, (4) High Tunnel Initiative, (5) Landscape Initiatives, (6) On-Farm Renewable Energy Initiative, and (7) Organic Initiative are the seven subprograms of the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP).

In addition to financial incentives and technical assistance, the Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a voluntary working lands program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers who promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, as well as plant and animal resources.

New grassland conservation initiatives were introduced by the 2018 Farm Bill, including a CSP Grassland Conservation Initiative that provides financial help through a 5-year contract for the conservation of grasslands by planting cropland to pasture or forage.

Please see ourU.S.

Farm Billspage for a summary and historical development of the Conservation Titles in the 1985-2018 Farm Bills. For further and related information on Conservation Programs, please see our Animal Feeding Operations Reading Room and our Sustainable Agriculture Reading Room, respectively.

EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database

Program Total Payments 1995-2020‡
Total USDA – Subsidies $424,367,364,038
Subtotal, Farming Subsidies $240,475,693,045
Corn Subsidies $116,570,999,819
Crop Insurance Premium Subsidy $97,226,989,903
Subtotal, Conservation Programs $51,975,850,082
Wheat Subsidies $48,445,878,970
Soybean Subsidies $44,940,426,399
CRP – Annual Land Rental $40,854,596,675
Cotton Subsidies $40,080,571,699
Subtotal, Disaster Payments $34,085,403,134
Market Facilitation Program – Non-specified commodity crops $16,892,133,171
Rice Subsidies $16,841,106,496
Livestock Subsidies $12,458,279,639
Crop Disaster – Program $11,998,140,558
Sorghum Subsidies $8,965,549,426
Dairy Program Subsidies $6,374,052,667
Peanut Subsidies $5,904,163,618
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments $4,921,914,275
SURE – Program Payments $4,199,116,240
EQIP – Regular $3,686,165,866
Barley Subsidies $3,227,560,234
Non-insured Assistance $2,843,929,888
CRP – Cost Share $2,215,410,308
Price Loss Coverage Payments $1,971,978,865
Tobacco Subsidies $1,895,477,983
Sunflower Subsidies $1,364,247,406
Conservation Security Program $1,202,881,410
Canola Subsidies $1,032,858,148
SURE – 2010 Recovery Act Payments for Crop Year 2008 $818,033,002
Agricultural Risk Coverage County Payment $698,406,422
Natural Disaster – 1995 $595,894,492
2019 Wildfires and Hurricane Disaster Payments $551,648,264
CRP – Incentives $541,509,269
CRP – Practice Incentive $489,809,921
Oat Subsidies $389,498,681
Market Facilitation Program – Specialty Crops $371,413,955
Florida Hurricane Charley Citrus Disaster $350,805,226
CRP – Signing Incentive $331,777,461
WRP – Contract Agreement $304,776,141
Wildfires and Hurricane Program $294,415,156
Apple Subsidies $261,540,987
2009 Crop Disaster Program $259,072,674
EQIP – Ground And Surface Water $250,415,624
Sugar Beet Subsidies $242,064,005
EQIP – Acp $240,606,191
Emergency Conservation – Other $230,061,452
Wool Subsidies $209,768,826
Emergency Conservation – Hurricane $208,457,569
Emergency Conservation – Flood $206,935,253
Grasslands Reserve Program Payment $194,317,169
Emergency Conservation Program $187,355,219
ACP – Regular $176,529,302
Emergency Conservation – Drought $162,406,896
Tree Subsidies $159,372,094
Emergency Conservation – Stafford $155,697,387
Quality Losses Program $149,590,713
Flax Subsidies $149,483,749
Dry Pea Subsidies $127,540,980
ACP – Long Term Agreement $122,447,089
Sheep Meat Subsidies $96,757,244
WRP – Land Capitalized $94,481,509
WRP – Cost Share $87,113,192
WHIP – Contract Agreements $86,868,769
Market Facilitation Program – Dairy and Hogs $78,380,425
Trade Adjustment for Farmers $70,670,104
Mohair Subsidies $59,351,864
CRP – Emergency Forestry Annual Rental $58,841,365
Pasture Recovery Program $53,842,874
Avian Influenza Indemnity Program $52,924,950
Florida Hurricane Nursery Disaster $50,035,355
FPP – Contract $45,810,088
CRP – Transition Assistance Program $44,243,669
WRP – Easment $43,539,364
Disaster Reserve – Flood Compensation $40,864,457
Programmatic Environmental Assistance – Hurricane Indemnity $40,500,546
EQIP – Klamath Basin $39,047,852
Safflower Subsidies $38,479,184
Apple and Potato Quality Loss $35,569,086
Emergency Conservation – Tornado $35,476,875
Non-insured Crop Disaster $31,816,500
Agricultural Management Assistance Progr $29,325,596
Honey Subsidies $29,091,233
Interest Penalty Payments $27,799,349
Fish Subsidies $25,253,640
Emergency Forestry Restoration Program $23,187,361
Agricultural Risk Coverage Individual Payment $22,530,297
Loan Deficiency – Lentils $21,378,384
Pasture Flood Compensation Program $20,406,867
Market Facilitation Program – Fresh Sweet Cherries $20,233,018
Potato Subsidies $16,547,186
Florida Hurricane Vegetable Disaster $15,222,940
Disaster Reserve Assistance $15,052,919
EQIP – Great Plains Conservation $14,589,250
Mustard Seed Subsidies $13,713,250
Specialty Crop Hurricane Disaster – Nursery $12,601,882
Options Pilot Program $12,268,760
Soil And Water Agricultural Asst Program $11,490,053
Geographically Disadvantaged Program $11,412,438
CRP – Emergency Forestry Cost Share $10,952,802
Water Bank Program – Annual $10,612,819
CRP – Wetlands $10,102,000
Agricultural Risk Coverage – County Pilot $9,328,511
Emergency Compensation Program – Agi $9,240,205
Emergency Conservation – HMC Cost Share FY2019 $8,956,822
FPP – Other $8,041,138
Emergency Conservation – Southern California $7,698,837
Market Loss Assistance – Fresh Asparagus $7,460,410
Market Loss Assistance – Processed Asparagus $7,358,294
Chick Pea Susbidies $6,228,853
EQIP – Col. River Salinity $5,416,559
Crambe Seed Subsidies $5,173,620
CRP – Riparian Buffer $5,168,932
Idaho Oust Program $4,888,638
Programmatic Environmental Assistance – Feed Indemnity $4,855,190
Specialty Crop Hurricane Disaster – Fruit/veg $4,790,342
FPP – Project Agreements $4,607,250
Specialty Crop Hurricane Disaster – Citrus $4,563,681
Disaster Supplemental $2,661,842
CCC Organic Cost Share – Storage and Handling $2,503,454
WRP – Partner Restoration And Easments $2,410,819
CCC Organic Cost Share – Crops $2,167,238
CRP – Tree Thinning Incentive Program $2,038,627
Market Facilitation Program – Shelled Almonds $1,878,974
Poultry Subsidies $1,784,523
CRP – Cancellation $1,745,925
Emergency Conservation – Gulf Of Mexico Poultry $1,488,254
Automated Conservation Long Term $1,430,855
ACRE Revenue Support – Dry Beans $1,181,756
Colorado River Salinity Program $992,783
Trade Adjustment – Juice Grapes $980,900
Emergency Conservation – Maple $965,237
Emergency Conservation – Hurricane Sandy $809,448
CRP – Chesapeake Bay Inititative $787,407
Arkansas Beaver Lake Conservation $728,646
Flood Compensation- Harney County, Or $706,144
Trade Adjustment – Fresh Potatoes $665,698
Trade Adjustment – Fresh Table Olives $626,761
CCC Organic Cost Share – Handling Fees $502,241
WRP – Other $422,693
Rapeseed Subsidies $387,732
CCC Organic Cost Share – Livestock $353,850
Wildfires and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Milk Loss $353,676
Hurricane Indemnity Program $345,124
FPP – Wrp Easment $325,000
CRP – Cumulative Impact Bonus $313,576
Direct Program Payments – 2008 Farm Bill $290,726
Rural Clean Water Program $275,679
Sesame Subsidies $227,762
Trade Adjustment – Blueberries $207,659
Trade Adjustment – Lychees $191,752
AMA Organic Cost Share – Crops $144,640
WRP – Interest $134,579
Triticale Subsidies $131,959
GRP – Partners Easement Trust $123,678
Market Loss Assistance – Other $122,725
WRP – Related Costs $85,748
AMA Organic Cost Share – Crops, Livestock, and Wild Crops $71,827
Grasslands Reserve Program Special Funding $68,802
90 Day – Rule $62,279
AMA Organic Cost Share – Livestock $32,374
Emergency Conservation Program – Private Sector Tech Asst $29,525
CCC Organic Cost Share – Wild Crops $13,546
Water Bank Program – Cost Share $10,296
GRP – Cost Share Permanent $9,675
CCC Organic Cost Share – Program Fees $9,343
Trade Adjustment – Avocados $6,984
FPP – Permanent Easement $4,000
GRP – Project Services $4,000
Emergency Conservation – Cerro Grande $2,400
Automated Conservation Annual Payment $1,875
GRP – Contract Agreement w Indvs $500
AMA Organic Cost Share – Wild Crops $309
Interest On CCC-6s $8
Disaster – Program Crops $-5
Emergency Feed Program $-1,408
Apricot Subsidies $-1,572
Klamath Basin Water Program $-4,299
Disaster – Quality Adjustment $-6,739
Tomato Subsidies $-28,242
ACP – Refund $-43,309
Cane Sugar Subsidies $-117,054
CRP – Corn Bonus $-130,441
CRP – Annual Rental, Refund $-153,106
Peach Subsidies $-174,538
Direct Payment Program Limitation $-2,349,759
Direct Payment – Late Fees $-4,230,535
Payment Limitation $-6,880,018
CRP – Failure To Comply $-7,399,166
Disaster Assistance $-9,778,431
CRP – Haying / Grazing $-129,275,199

Agriculture Department payments issued until June 30, 2020 are included in this data. Crop insurance premium subsidies are excluded from the data for 2020.

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