The USDA recently announced they will be extending enrollment in general CRP for 2021. Originally, enrollment was set to close on February 12. As of now, there is no official end date set for closure, and interested parties may continue to submit bids to enter the program.
“USDA will continue to accept offers as it takes this opportunity for the incoming Administration to evaluate ways to increase enrollment,” said a USDA spokesperson. “Before the General CRP signup period ends, producers will have the opportunity to adjust or resubmit their offers to take advantage of planned improvements to the program.”
This extension is likely due to the Biden administration’s strong focus on emission reduction and environmental protection. One of the first actions President Biden made after taking office was rejoining the Paris Agreement. Extending general CRP enrollment is yet another sign that the new administration considers environmental impact a top priority.
Since launching in 1985, CRP has proven very successful at combatting soil erosion, protecting water supplies, and reducing emissions of both carbon and nitrogen. The program has prevented nearly 10 billion tons of soil from eroding and reduced nitrogen runoff by 95%. Additionally, CRP sequesters an average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases every year.
With ongoing talks of a federally regulated carbon market, farmers have more reasons than ever to join CRP.
How to Enroll in General CRP in 2021
General CRP operates on a bidding system. Farmers and landowners submit proposals which are ranked according to the Environmental Benefits Index. This is a scoring system that determines the potential environmental impact of a submitted proposal. To successfully win your bid and earn a CRP contract, it’s critical that you maximize your EBI score.
Factors that contribute to your EBI ranking include:
- Wildlife Habitat benefits
- Water quality benefits
- On-farm benefits for reducing erosion
- Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period
- Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion
One of the best ways to improve your score is by selecting the right conservation practice (CP). This determines the type of habitat you will be establishing, and therefore, affects every part of your proposal. CP2 is one of the most popular choices for CRP enrollment due to its simplicity and effectiveness. Under CP2, you will establish native grasses and legumes.
However, there are other CPs worth considering as well. For example, establishing pollinator habitat under CP42 can provide enticing benefits for a contract holder while still earning a high EBI score.
Whichever CP you choose, it’s also important your proposal includes a diverse CRP seed mix. This too can have a major impact on your EBI ranking.
If you need help determining what to enroll under and how to create your seed mix, we can help. FDCE provides full-service CRP solutions that make establishment simple and easy. In addition to taking care of seed purchasing, establishment, herbicide application, and report submission for cost–share reimbursement, we can also help in choosing a CP and developing a seed mix.
Contact us today to get started!