Chances are, if you’re a landowner participating in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), you don’t have much time to stay up to date on the most recent CRP news.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the latest updates, improvements, and initiatives of CRP to keep you in the loop.
As of May 13, enrollment has been closed for all General CRP Signup and Grassland CRP Signup for 2022. However, landowners interested in participating in CRP can still register through the Continuous CRP program or the CLEAR30 initiative.
Continuous CRP is designed specifically for environmentally sensitive land, and the enrollment period is ongoing. Over the long term, the program strives to re-establish land cover to better preserve wildlife habitats, reduce erosion, and improve water quality. Certain eligibility requirements must be met, but suitable applicants are accepted automatically on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This year’s enrollment for the Clean Lakes, Estuaries, And Rivers initiative (CLEAR30) will remain open until August 5. CLEAR30 is a CRP program that aims to improve water quality through CRP practices. Established in 2018 and expanded in 2021 to producers nationwide, it focuses on reducing sediment and nutrient runoff and preventing algal blooms. Contracts for CLEAR30 are offered on a 30-year term, and landowners with expiring CRP contracts are encouraged to apply.
In 2021, the USDA introduced a number of improvements to the various CRP programs. These changes were made to increase program payments, expand the amount of land enrolled in the program, and maximize the environmental benefits of the program.
Among many other changes, the agency made “inflationary,” one-time fee adjustments as well as county rental rate adjustments and increased incentive payments to boost payments to farmers. They also expanded programs, expanded water quality incentives, and increased technical assistance to producers through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS).
The full list of improvements and the applicable CRP programs can be found on the USDA’s fact sheet.
CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative
In October 2021, the USDA invested $10 million in a new effort to monitor soil carbon on CRP land through their new CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative as a part of their Monitoring, Assessment, and Evaluation (MAE) project. In order to more effectively measure the program’s impact on the climate, this initiative was developed to sample, measure, and monitor the soil on CRP acres.
By capturing this data over time, the USDA hopes to better quantify the outcomes of CRP practices on the climate. Soil carbon is sampled from 3 categories of CRP crops: perennial grasses, wetlands, and trees.
Climate-Smart Practice Incentive
The new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive was introduced in 2021 to focus on CRP practices benefiting climate change. The incentive was created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
Participating landowners are encouraged to implement practices that establish trees and permanent grasses, restore wetlands, and expand wildlife habitats. Annual payments for landowners participating in this initiative will be provided, with the payment amount based on the benefits of the type of practice used.
Keep current with FDCE
At FDCE, we’re constantly learning about and working with new CRP programs and initiatives. Our team stays on top of the latest news, so you can stay updated. We post regularly to our blog to ensure that the information we are providing to our visitors is current and accurate. With our in-depth knowledge of the program and its most recent changes, we can ensure our clients are receiving the best possible support.
We also assist CRP landowners with enrollment, seeding, planting, herbicide, and more to help make your CRP project as easy as possible. Contact us today to learn more about CRP and how FDCE can assist with your project today.