The Conservation Reserve Program

Source: USDA

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can be a win:win for both producer profitability and conservation. The program safeguards natural resources and wildlife habitats while compensating farmers for promoting these ecosystem services. CRP recipients receive an annual rental payment (which may include additional conservation incentive payments and conservation practice cost-share) in return for the recipient removing designated land from agricultural production. Applying farmers can bid their acreage to the USDA for CRP, offering a maximum rental rate commensurate with annual cash rent and soil productivity (NSAC).

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a part of the Conservation Reserve Program and blends local and federal capital to address state-level resource priority concerns. Farmers who enter CREP contracts remove their land from production in exchange for a yearly, per-acre rental rate. This funding may be supplemented by additional funding (CREP opportunities vary state-by-state), and farmers addressing a resource concern that is high-priority for their local state will have a higher likelihood of receiving grant funding.

The Transition Incentives Program plays an important role in helping underserved farming populations access land. If you have a Conservation Reserve Program contract that is soon to expire, the USDA will offer you up to two additional years of CRP payments if you sell or lease your land to an underserved farmer group (including beginning farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers).