Program Description:

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) aims to protect topsoil from erosion and safeguard groundwater, improve water quality, establish wildlife habitat, and enhance forest and wetland resources by reducing water runoff and sedimentation. CRP is a voluntary program that encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buffers for a term of 10 - 15 years.

Participants in all CRP programs receive annual rental payments as compensation for putting agricultural lands into conservation cover and cost-share assistance for restoring and managing enrolled land. Although 10-15 year rental contracts are the norm for all CRP programs, some states may also offer temporary or permanent easement options under Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) with nonfederal support.

Landowner Eligibility:

To be eligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to close of the CRP sign-up period, unless: The new owner acquired the land due to the previous owner's death; The ownership change occurred due to foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right or redemption in accordance with state law; or the circumstances of the acquisition present adequate assurance to FSA that the new owner did not require the land for the purpose of placing it in CRP.

Land Eligibility:

To be eligible for placement in CRP, land must be either: Cropland (including field margins) that is planted to an agricultural commodity 4 of the previous 6 crop years from 2002 to 2007, and which is capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity; or certain marginal pastureland that is suitable for use as a riparian buffer or for similar water quality purposes.

Contract Length:

10-15 Years

Cost-Share/Payment Information:

Cost-Share assistance and payments can come in a variety of ways:

  • Rental Payments - Annual rental payment rates are based on the relative prudtivity of the soils within each county and the average dry land cash rent/cash-rent equivalent. The rental rate cap for each offer is calculated prior to enrollment.
  • Maintenance Incentive Payments - For certain continuous signup practices, annual rental payments may include an additional $5 per acre per year to help offset certain maintenance obligations.
  • Cost-Share Assistance - For participants who establish approved cover on eligible cropland; In an amount not to exceed 50 percent of participants' costs in establishing approved practices.
  • Other Incentives - Additional payment up to 20 percent of annual payment for certain continuous practices.

Signup Information

In general, producers may only enroll during designated sign-up periods. However, environmentally desirable land due to certain conservation practices may be enrolled at any time under CRP continuous sign-up. For more information contact your local FSA office.