USDA announced last week the sign-up periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the CRP Grasslands in 2021. Sign-up for general CRP will be open from January 4, 2021, to February 12, 2021, and sign-up for CRP Grasslands runs from March 15, 2021, to April 23, 2021. Both programs are competitive and provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the U.S. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program, which marks its 35th anniversary next month, has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. Some of the successes include preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks; reducing nitrogen and phosphorus runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85%, respectively; sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road; and creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands, while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times.
For more information on the programs or to sign up, contact the local Farm Service Agency office.