The USDA has announced that farmers and landowners will be able to sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 2022 starting at the end of January. Enrollment for the General CRP will be open from January 31 through March 11, and for the Grassland CRP from April 4 through May 13.
Through General CRP enrollment, landowners can reduce soil erosion, enhance wildlife habitats, and improve water quality by planting approved plant species on their farmland. Trees, grasses, and other native plants are grown on vulnerable land to protect soil and promote biodiversity.
These practices aim to ensure the environmental health of the land for the duration of the 10- or 15-year contracts, as well as in the long term. Signups for General CRP will take place starting January 31, with a deadline of March 11.
Participants can also enroll in Continuous CRP projects, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), and the recently expanded Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers Initiative (CLEAR30), a 30-year program.
The Grasslands CRP is a program to specifically protect sensitive grassland and prevent it from being farmed or ranched. Rangeland, pastureland, and other lands are used as working grazing land, which encourages biodiversity, helps increase carbon sequestration, and provides economic benefits to your region.
Contract for the Grasslands CRP are also offered in 10- or 15-year terms. Grasslands CRP enrollment will be open from April 4 until May 13.
Last year, the Biden administration recognized and expanded CRP for its contributions to climate change mitigation efforts.
The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive, initiated in 2021, was created to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration through the CRP General and Continuous programs. The USDA also announced that it would invest $10 million dollars in the CRP Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation (MAE) program, to better measure the success of CRP practices in combating climate change.
There were 4.6 million acres of land enrolled in CRP in 2021, which includes the largest Grassland CRP enrollment in history of 2.5 million acres.
In 2022, the Farm Service Agency intends to reach its 25.5-million-acre cap for CRP enrollment. Currently, 22.1 million acres are enrolled in the program.
Contracts expiring in 2022
On January 26, the USDA mailed notifications to existing CRP participants with program contracts set to expire on September 30, 2022. The letter includes information on different renewal options, including General CRP signup, Continuous CRP signup, and Grasslands CRP signup. Participants with accepted enrollment offers can receive a 10- or 15-year contract, which will take effect on October 31.
Additional options include transitioning land into conservation easements, working land programs, or allowing the contract to expire to return the land to productive acreage. Landowners that choose to let their contracts expire will receive their final CRP payment in October 2022.
For more information on your options, contact your local FSA office.
Apply starting January 31
To apply for CRP as a new participant or to renew your expiring contract, landowners can contact their local USDA service center. Some service centers are open to visitors on a limited basis due to COVID-19, but all centers can be contacted virtually by phone or email. Fact sheets providing more information on the different CRP programs and initiatives are available on the USDA website.
At FDCE, we understand that applying for CRP and establishing CRP practices on your land can be a complicated process. That’s why we work hard to help farmers and landowners navigate enrollment. If you’re considering signing in CRP for 2022, reach out to our team of experienced CRP professionals at FDCE today.