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Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

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The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) provide technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and landowners to address soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. The programs provide assistance in complying with Federal, State, and tribal environmental laws, and encourages environmental enhancement. The Farm Service Agency administers both CRP and CREP, with NRCS providing technical assistance for land eligibility, conservation planning, and practice implementation. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Game Commission provide additional funding for CREP.

The Conservation Reserve Program reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filter strips, or riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment on enrolled acres, for the term of the multi-year contract. Cost-sharing is provided to establish CRP and CREP cover practices and other related activities (fence, stream crossings, livestock watering troughs, etc.).

Learn more about CRP and CREP at the following websites:

PA CREP webpage
PA Farm Service Agency CRP webpage
PA Farm Service Agency CREP webpage
PA Game Commission CREP webpage
 

Applying for CRP or CREP participation

CRP and CREP applications are accepted by FSA on a continual basis. If there are areas on your farm or property that you would consider putting into CRP or CREP, contact your local Farm Service Agency office. 

Find contact information for county FSA offices at: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=pa&agency=fsa

Practices Available through CRP and CREP in Pennsylvania

CP1 Establishment of Permanent Introduced Grasses and Legumes
 

Planting introduced cool-season grasses, like timothy and orchardgrass, with clovers and legumes to provide grassland habitat.

CP2 Establishment of Permanent Native Grasses
 

Planting native grasses, like switchgrass, indiangrass, big/little bluestem, wild rye(s), with legumes or wildflowers to provide grassland habitat.

CP4D Permanent Wildlife Habitat  
 

Planting mostly grasses (introduced or native) with some trees and shrubs to provide wildlife habitat.

CP8A Grassed Waterway
 

Planting grasses and clovers in constructed “swales” to allow surface waters to flow off fields without causing erosion.

CP9 Shallow Water Area for Wildlife
 

Creating a shallow wetland area for wildlife habitat. This is NOT a pond. Water levels will be shallow (most of the area less than 18” deep) and water may not be present year-round.

CP12 Wildlife Food Plots
 

Planting annual or perennial vegetation for wildlife food or cover plots. Available only in conjunction with CP1, CP2, or CP4D. Food plots cannot exceed a ratio of ½ acre of CP12 to every 20 acres of contiguous CP1, CP2, or CP4D. (For example, a one-acre CP12 food plot requires an accompanying 40 acres of CP1, CP2, CP4D, alone or in combination.)

CP15A Establishment of Permanent Vegetative Cover – Contour Buffer Strip
 

Planting introduced or native grasses on the contour in cropfields, to reduce erosion and provide wildlife habitat.

CP21 Filter Strip
 

Planting introduced or native grasses between crops and water bodies or streams to provide habitat and trap/filter sediment and nutrients that would otherwise run off the field.

CP22 Forested Riparian Buffer
 

Planting shrubs and trees along the edges of water bodies and streams to provide habitat, trap/filter sediments and nutrients that would otherwise run off the field, and provide shade to cool the water body. Can include fencing, watering facilities, stream crossings, and other practices that support/allow the exclusion of livestock from the stream being buffered.

CP23 Wetland Restoration
 

Restoring a shallow-water/wetland area to provide wetland wildlife habitat. This is NOT a pond. Water levels will be shallow (most of the area less than 18” deep) and water may not be present year-round.

CP29 Wildlife Habitat Buffer
 

Planting a variety of vegetation in cropland, along a water body or wetland, to provide wildlife habitat.

CP30 Marginal Pastureland Wetland Buffer
 

Planting a variety of vegetation in pastureland, along a water body or wetland, to provide wildlife habitat.

CP33 Habitat Buffer for Upland Birds
 

Planting native grasses and forbs along edges of cropfields, to provide habitat for upland birds and other “edge species” that thrive in the transitional areas between crops and forests.

CP42 Pollinator Habitat (CRP only; not available in CREP)
 

Planting a mix of pollinator-friendly forbs/wildflowers and native grasses, to provide foraging and nesting areas for native pollinators.

 

Job Sheets describing each of these practices in much greater detail are available in NRCS’ electronic Field Office Technical Guide found at https://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/treemenu.aspx#. (Select Pennsylvania from the map that appears, then select the county where the CRP/CREP project may occur. In the drop-down box in the upper left corner of the webpage, select “Section IV”, then select “CRP Documents”, then select “CRP Practices.) Practice descriptions are Microsoft Excel files, ranging in size from 300 – 1,000 KB. These documents are listed as references only; a conservation planner associated with NRCS will work with you and complete these forms to match your unique site and goals, then provide the finished forms to you as guidance for the establishment and maintenance of your CRP or CREP project.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Habitat Management and Weed Control Fact Sheets

(These documents require Adobe Acrobat )
 

Options for Landowners with Expiring CRP Contracts

Option 1.  Keep your CRP or CREP acres in good condition, and potentially re-enroll them directly into another CRP or CREP contract.  All aspects of CRP or CREP will continue into the new contract, including rental payments and Mid-Contract Management payments, as well as management and maintenance requirements.

Option 2.  If you have CRP or CREP acres that you will not be re-enrolling into another CRP or CREP contract, please refer to the following USDA document for helpful suggestions on managing those acres: EXPIRING CONTRACT OPTIONS FOR CRP

Program Contacts

Noel Soto
Program Manager
717-237-2173

Susan Kubo
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
717-237-2216

Jim Gillis
State Biologist
717-237-2219