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.
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.
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.
Services Agency Link
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