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Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Description

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program which offers financial incentives to private landowners to protect highly erodible and environmentally sensitive cropland by planting trees, grass, and other long-term cover. Additional goals are to reduce sedimentation, improve water quality, foster wildlife habitat, provide income support for farmers, and to protect the Nation's long-term capacity to produce food and fiber.  The program is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) with technical assistance provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

FSA Website for CRP Information

CRP Initiatives, Activities, and Accomplishments in Oklahoma

Key Provisions

  • Uses an offer selection system based on an environmental benefits index (EBI), which quantifies potential enhancements to a wide range of natural and cultural resources.
  • Requires a contract term of between 10 and 15 years (new enrollments can replace expired or terminated contracts).
  • Participants receive annual per-acre rental payments plus cost-share assistance.
  • Provides up to 50 per cent of the costs of installing approved conservation practices.

Eligibility

The participant must have owned the land for at least one year, unless it was inherited or it can be shown that it was not acquired for the purpose of enrolling it in the program. The land itself must:

  • Be physically and legally capable of agricultural production
  • Have been planted in an agricultural commodity in two of the five most recent crop years OR
  • Be marginal pasture land that is either:
    • certain acreage enrolled in the Water Bank Program OR
    • suitable for use as a riparian buffer to be planted in trees

Eligible Land and Practices

To be eligible under continuous sign-up, land must meet the basic CRP eligibility requirements. Acceptable land is the following:

  1. Cropland that was planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity 2 of the 5 most recent crop years (including field margins) which also physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity; or
  2. Marginal pasture land that is suitable for use as a riparian buffer to be planted to trees.

The acreage must also be determined by the NRCS to be eligible and suitable for any of the following practices:

  • Riparian Buffers
  • Filter Strips
  • Grass Waterways
  • Shelter Belts
  • Field Windbreaks
  • Living Snow Fences
  • Contour Grass Strips
  • Salt Tolerant Vegetation
  • Shallow Water Areas for Wildlife

How to Apply

Sign-up is continuous for riparian buffer strips, CRP-SAFE, and the CREP initiative. For the rest of the program there are regularly scheduled sign-up windows or periods after which applications are ranked and selected.