CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to
help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation
benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term,
resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control
soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides
participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.
Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.
expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land
are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP. Producers also
are encouraged to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities
offered on a continuous, noncompetitive signup basis.
Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP nationwide,
and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on Sept.
"It is USDA's goal to ensure that we use CRP to address our most
critical resource issues," said Giamanco. "CRP is an important
program for protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from
erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of
our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. As always, we
expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge
interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to
make cost-effective offers."
Offers for CRP contracts are ranked according to the
Environmental Benefits Index, or EBI. USDA's Farm Service Agency
collects data for each of the EBI factors, based on the relative
environmental benefits for the land offered. Each eligible offer is
ranked in comparison with all other offers and selections made from
FSA uses the following EBI factors to
assess the environmental benefits for the land offered:
benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage.
benefits from reduced erosion, runoff and leaching.
On-farm benefits from
Benefits that will
likely endure beyond the contract period.
from reduced wind erosion.
CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation's
natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing
significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities
across the United States.
Over the past 25 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists,
hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP the
largest and one of the most important in USDA's conservation
portfolio. CRP continues to make major contributions to national
efforts to improve water and air quality and to prevent soil erosion
by protecting the most sensitive areas, including those prone to
flash flooding and runoff. At the same time, CRP has helped increase
populations of pheasants, quail, ducks and other rare species, like
the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken and others.
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Highlights of CRP:
CRP has restored
more than 2 million acres of wetlands and 2 million acres of
Each year, CRP
keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100
million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation's
streams, rivers and lakes.
CRP provides $1.8
billion annually to landowners -- dollars that make their way
into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating
CRP is the largest
private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By
placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters
carbon in plants and soil and reduces both fuel and fertilizer
usage. In 2010, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to
taking almost 10 million cars off the road.
In 2011, USDA enrolled a record number
of acres of private working lands in conservation programs,
working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement
conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the
water we drink and prevent soil erosion.
In addition, the Obama administration, with Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack's leadership, has worked to strengthen rural
America, implement the farm bill, maintain a strong farm safety net
and create opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers. U.S.
agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive
periods in American history, thanks to the productivity, resiliency
and resourcefulness of our producers.
For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local
FSA service center or
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Farm Service Agency]