The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides incentive for landowners to protect wildlife and reduce erosion on cropland. The Farm Service Agency will share in the cost of implementing conservation practices. The agency also makes annual rental payments to landowners in exchange for their agreement to keep the land out of crop production. Some examples of conservation practices include installation of filter strips, grassed waterways, and shallow water for wildlife.


LAND USE Cropland, Forestland
FOCUS Cost-share payments, Rental payments
RESOURCE CONCERN Soil erosion, Water quality, Wildlife habitat
PURPOSE The environmental purpose is to reduce erosion, increase wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and increase forestland as addressed by state, regional, and national conservation initiatives. It also works to restore and protect highly erodible farmland that was cropped in 4 of the 6 years prior to 2008, farmed wetlands, and riparian buffers.
LANDOWNER BENEFITS Landowners can receive annual rental payments for establishing long-term vegetative cover and cost-share payments for implementing conservation practices. Technical assistance is given to landowners to implement the best plan of action for the land.
DESCRIPTION The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term vegetative cover to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat on eligible farmland. It also helps landowners safeguard environmentally sensitive areas. Producers can offer land for the general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment only during designated sign-up periods.
PRACTICES Tree planting, grass cover, small wetland restoration, prairie and other practices. Prescribed and routine grazing for control of invasive species is permissible.
COSTS TO LANDOWNER Landowners must pay for at least 50% of the costs of establishing the conservation practice. Necessary and required maintenance may also be eligible for 50% cost-share. Cost-share includes payments for tree thinning to improve condition of resources on the land.
ELIGIBILITY Landowners are eligible if they owned or operated the land for at least 12 months. Lands are considered eligible if they have a cropping history for 4 of the previous 6 years and are subject to erosion. Certain marginal pasturelands are eligible if enrolled in the Water Bank Program or suitable for use as a riparian buffer or other similar water quality purposes.
CONTRACT The contract is for 10 to 15 years and is transferable with change in ownership.
OTHER NOTES Alfalfa and other multi-year grasses in a rotation practice are considered agricultural commodities and can be used for cropping history.