USDA offers producers options on CRP contracts
Farmers and ranchers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts may now re-enroll in certain CRP continuous signup practices or, if eligible, select a one-year contract extension. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) also is accepting offers from those who want to enroll for the first time in one of the country’s largest conservation programs. FSA’s 52nd signup for CRP runs from June 3 to August 23.
“Agricultural producers with expiring CRP contracts have set aside land to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health for at least a decade,” said U.S. Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “We want to make sure they – and their neighbors who may not have a CRP contract – know they have opportunities within CRP to continue their valuable contribution to our country’s conservation successes.”
FSA stopped accepting offers last fall for the CRP continuous signup when 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the program this past December, and FSA has carefully analyzed the bill’s 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 CRP continuous signup includes such practices as grass waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. Continuous signup enrollment contracts last for 10 to 15 years. Soil rental rates are set at 90 percent of 2018 rates. Incentive payments are not offered for these practices.
Letters are in the mail to all producers with expiring CRP contracts, describing possible options.
A one-year extension is being offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less that have practices not eligible for re-enrollment under this CRP signup.
Alternatively, producers with expiring contracts may have the option to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program, which provides two additional annual rental payments on the condition the land is sold or rented to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.
This signup also enables producers to sign up under existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements. CREP is part of CRP and targets high-priority conservation concerns identified by a state, and federal funds are supplemented with non-federal funds to address those concerns.
FSA is still planning a CRP general signup in December 2019, with a CRP Grasslands signup to follow. Those that extend their contracts may be eligible for one of these signup types or another continuous signup in the future.
On Dec. 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.
Producers interested in applying for CRP continuous practices, including those under existing CREP agreements, or who want to extend their contract, should contact their USDA service center by Aug. 23.