General CRP vs. Continuous CRP – What’s the Difference?

(Click here to view our NEW General and Continuous CRP Options Fact Sheet)

The Conservation Reserve Programs (CRP) offers many great ways for farmers and landowners to take highly erodible or underperforming land out of active production so it can be used for different conservation methods.

For those considering enrollment in CRP, one of the first decisions to be made is what program to enroll in. In addition to a variety of conservation practices available within CRP, there are additional specialized programs.

Two of the most common are Continuous CRP (CCRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). While these programs operate under CRP and are overseen by FSA, they have some distinct differences that are worth knowing. Today, we’re going to look at the differences between general CRP and CCRP.

General CRP Enrollment 

Most CRP acres fall under “general CRP”. General CRP offers a wide range of practices that ultimately determine what is done on your land. Though CRP provides many great benefits to landowners that make it well-worth joining, choosing the right option will maximize both conservation on your land and income to your operation.

Sign up for general CRP happens periodically and is announced by the USDA. Enrollment may not take place every year. Once it opens, applicants can submit their land for bidding.

To be enrolled in general CRP, land is ranked using the EBI (Environmental Benefits Index) and bid into the program.

The FSA uses the following EBI factors to assist in ranking land:

  • Wildlife habitat benefits 
  • Water quality benefits 
  • On-farm soil-retention benefits 
  • Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period 
  • Air quality benefits 
  • Cost 

There are a number of ways you can increase your score, and with it, your chances of being accepted into CRP. This includes accepting lower payments, picking warm season grass and forbs mixtures over cool season grasses, and more.

The 2018 farm bill added a significant change to enrollment process for general CRP. In the past, applicants competed across the US for available CRP acres. Now, however, each state has a set number of CRP acres.

When acres are available for enrollment, applicants compete in-state. Depending on where you live, this may make enrollment easier or more difficult.

How Continuous CRP Works 

Continuous CRP focuses specifically on land deemed environmentally sensitive. Unlike general CRP, there is no bidding process for CCRP. Instead, enrollment works on a first come, first serve basis. As long as a landowner meets the necessary requirements, they’re automatically accepted into the program (assuming there are available acres, of course).

Enrollment for CCRP is currently open June 3 – August 23rd. If you are considering enrollment, you will want to act quickly.

Whether you’re looking to enroll in CCRP or general CRP, FDCE can help. We offer full-service, turn-key CRP solutions that handle the entire process from start to finish. That includes not only enrollment advice, but buying CRP seed mixes, planting, herbicide application, paperwork filing, and more.

With over 350,000 acres of CRP experience, we are well-versed in all steps involved in CRP. We can even provide suggestions on which program may be best suited for your situation. Contact us today!