USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications on June 3, 2019, for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the continuous CRP signup when 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs.
“USDA offers a variety of conservation programs to farmers and ranchers, and the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool for private lands management,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “CRP allows agricultural producers to set aside land to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”
Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December, Fordyce said FSA has carefully analyzed the language and determined that a limited signup prioritizing water-quality practices furthers conservation goals and makes sense for producers as FSA works to fully implement the program. This year’s signup will include such practices as grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others.
FSA will also reopen signup for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements. Fordyce said FSA plans to open a CRP general signup in December 2019 and a CRP Grasslands signup later. A one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter describing their options.