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Conservation Reserve Program

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) 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 CRP was revised by the 2002 Farm Bill and extended through 2007.


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 four (4) out of six (6) years between 1996 and 2001 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

Continuous Sign-Up CRP for High Priority Conservation Practices

Continuous sign-up provides management flexibility to farmers and ranchers to implement certain high-priority conservation practices on eligible land. Continuous sign-up began September 4, 1996, and is scheduled to be available indefinitely. Offers are automatically accepted, provided the acreage and producer meet certain eligibility requirements.

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 four (4) out of the six (6) years between 1996 and 2001 (including field margins) which is also physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity;

    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 in Tennessee:

  • CP8A - Grass Waterways
  • CP9 - Shallow Water Areas for Wildlife
  • CP15A - Establishment of Permanent Vegetative Cover (Contour Grass Strips), Non-easement
  • CP15B - Establishment of Permanent Vegetative Cover (Contour Grass Strips), on Terraces
  • CP21 - Filter Strips
  • CP22 - Riparian Buffers
  • CP23, CP23A, CP27, CP28 - Wetland Restoration
  • CP31 - Bottomland Timber Establishment on Wetlands (Floodplains)
  • CP33 - Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds (Field Borders)

How to Apply

Sign-up is continuous for high priority conservation practices. For the rest of the program there are regularly scheduled sign-up windows or periods (general sign-up) after which applications are ranked and selected.

For further information and assistance, contact your local office or

Allen Persinger Allen Persinger
Resource Conservationist -- CRP Coordinator
(615) 277-2593

Learn more about the Conservation Reserve Program from the national CRP web page.

CRP Managed Haying and Grazing Jobsheet

A Tennessee Job Sheet that includes a specification worksheet of planning information for the landowner is located on the CRP web page.

The CRP Riparian Forest Buffer Payment Estimator

Documents with the Excel icon require Excel.
  • Microsoft Excel IconCRP Riparian Forest Buffer Payment Estimator

Eligibility Requirements for Cropland

This document requires Adobe Acrobat.
  • Adobe PDF FileDefinition and Clarification for Marginal Pasture Land (PDF;

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