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Washington, D.C. 20078-5500

(202) 205-8333

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Conservation Reserve Program

Encouraging the Establishment of Permanent Covers on Sensitive Croplands

Program Purpose

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program that offers long term rental payments and cost share assistance to farmers establishing permanent vegetative cover on environmentally sensitive cropland. Vegetative cover reduces soil erosion, improves water quality, and enhances or establishes wildlife habitat. When trees are employed as the cover crop, not only are these conservation objectives obtained, but timber, one of our most valuable natural resources can be produced.

Trees provide an excellent cover which farmers often maintain well beyond the CRP rental period. Once established, trees require very little care and increase greatly in value after the 10 year CRP rental period is over. In the long term, trees are more likely to produce sustainable environmental benefits than other cover crops.

Program Activities

Consistent with the program's principal objective, the protection of highly sensitive croplands from erosion and providing environmental benefits, CRP supports installation and subsequent protection of filterstirps or buffers in riparian areas. CRP funds the establishment of a Conservation Plan and cost-share assistance of up to 50% of the costs of establishing cover crops. In addition, the program provides for annual rental payments to farmers to offset income losses which arise from land use changes.


Participation in CRP is limited to erosion prone agricultural land in designated conservation priority areas or other regions where establishment of a cover crop will potentially reduce watershed or wellshed contamination. The Federal government may pay up to 50% of cover crop or tree establishment costs, and rental payments of up to $50,000 per year per landowner during the 10 year rental period. While, CRP funding may not be applied to lands simultaneously enrolled in WHIP, coordination with other programs is encouraged.

Program Administration

The Farm Services Agency (FSA) administers the Conservation Reserve Program in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cooperative State Research and Education Service, State Foresters and the local soil and water conservation districts. FSA State and county offices serve as the focal points for program administration.

Farm Services Agency Link


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 Last Modified: Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM CST