General enrollment for CRP in 2021 is just a week away. Between January 4th and February 12, interested parties may submit bids to earn a contract and enter the program. Alternatively, enrollment for continuous CRP (CCRP) is already open and will remain so as long as there are acres available in your state.
Once you’ve decided to enroll, one of the first things you’ll need to do is select a conservation practice or CP. This determines the type of habitat you will establish. Selecting the right CP is critical to the success of CRP establishment. For those submitting a bid for general CRP, it can also have a profound impact on your overall Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) score.
The EBI is used to rank bid submissions and ultimately determine whether or not you’re accepted into the program.
The Impact of CP Selection on Your EBI Score
EBI ranking is based on a number of factors including wildlife habitat benefits, water quality benefits, erosion reduction, long-term impact, and overall cost of establishment. CP selection impacts every one of the areas. Though there are a wide variety of CPs to choose from under the Conservation Reserve Program, certain practices can offer more opportunities to improve your overall ranking.
CP2 is a popular choice that establishes permanent native grasses and legumes. Due to its general simplicity and effectiveness, it’s a viable option for most landowners. By establishing a minimum of 5 native species including at least 3 native grasses and at least 1 shrub, forb, or legume, you can maximize your points earned under the wildlife habitat benefits portion of EBI.
CP25 and CP-38E-25 are similar practices that specifically focuses on creating habitat that is rare and/or declining. CP-38E falls under the CRP SAFE Initiative which emphasizes the restoration of wildlife habitat.
If you’re looking to help our dwindling pollinator populations, CP42 is a great choice for establishing pollinator habitat. Not only can establishing pollinator habitat save our precious pollinators, but an increased pollinator presence can improve the yields of surrounding cropland.
Selecting a CP Outside of General CRP
In addition to general CRP, there is Continuous CRP (CCRP) which offers a similar variety of CPs to choose from. Unlike general CRP, CCRP doesn’t use a bidding system. Instead, qualifying applicants are automatically accepted in the program as long as acres are available. Still, it is just as important to select a CP that best suits your goals and the current state of your land.
Some states also have a program called CREP. This is a joint venture run between the federal government and select state governments. Like CCRP, there is no bidding system. If you qualify, you are accepted into the program.
States that offer CREP include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Deciding on the Best CP for Your Land
Regardless of which branch of CRP you’ve decided to enroll in, navigating CP selection can be difficult. The differences between CPs and the requirements that come with them isn’t always clear. For those trying to enroll in general CRP, maximizing EBI ranking can also prove difficult.
At FDCE, not only can we help guide you through the selection and enrollment process, but once you’re in a program, we can handle the entire establishment for you as well. Our turn-key CRP solutions include seed selection and purchasing, planting, documentation, and report submission to FSA for cost-share reimbursement.
Contact us today to get started.