The ag industry faced some uncertainty as 2018 came to a close. Most funding from the 2014 farm bill expired on September 30, 2018, yet congress struggled to find a consensus for its replacement. Without a new farm bill in place to provide funding, programs such as CRP remained in limbo, unable to sign-on new contracts.
Thankfully, the 2018 farm bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018. The USDA has spent the past few months reexamining existing and expiring contracts, and now, it’s time to open up enrollment once more.
As of June 3, FSA began accepting applications for practices under Continuous CRP (CCRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), as well as offering extensions for existing contracts. The enrollment period for CCRP and CREP runs until August 23. If you’re looking to enroll, contact us here.
What is Continuous CRP?
Environmentally sensitive land can be enrolled in certain practices under CCRP. Unlike regular CRP signups, Continuous enrollment is not subject to competitive bidding. Offers are automatically accepted, provided that the necessary requirements are met, and the enrollment levels don’t exceed the statutory cap.
CCRP contracts typically run 10-15 years. Rental rates for CCRP are 90% of existing soil rental rates. Additional incentives are not offered for these contracts.
Along with CCRP, CREP enrollment is also open in qualifying states. CREP is similar to CCRP, placing an emphasis on special environmentally sensitive land.
However, CREP is funded through a partnership between the federal government and certain state governments.
Those looking to enroll in general CRP will have to wait until December 2019. CRP Grasslands enrollment has yet to be announced.
What the 2018 Farm Bill Changed
In addition to providing $867 billion worth of funding to various programs, grants, and initiatives over the next decade, the 2018 farm bill, officially known as the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, made a few adjustments.
The most significant change was the legalization of hemp production across all 50 states. Due to its association with marijuana, hemp was made illegal in 1970. Over the past half-century, its legal status has shifted in some states, though it has remained wrapped in red tape and closely monitored by the DEA.
The 2018 farm bill made hemp’s legal status consistent across the US while placing its management under the USDA.
As for CRP and ACEP programs, things remain relatively unchanged with one notable exception. For the first time since 1996, the 2018 farm bill increased the number available acres available for enrollment, raising it from 24 million to 27 million.
If you have underperforming or environmentally sensitive land, now is a great time to enroll in a CRP practice. Even if you’re not enrolling in CCRP or CREP, you can get started now. Contact FDCE today.
We’re not just CRP service contractors. We handle the entire CRP process for you, including enrollment advice, seed purchasing, planting, equipment provision, herbicide spraying, and all of the reporting requirements for FSA.
CRP is a great opportunity, but it can get very complex. We make it simple. Click here to get started.