The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the Conservation Reserve Program General Signup period, which had previously been announced as ending on February 12, 2021. USDA will continue to accept offers as it takes this opportunity for the incoming Administration to evaluate ways to increase enrollment. The program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provides annual rental payments for 10 to 15 years for land devoted to conservation purposes, as well as other types of payments.
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.
As one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States, CRP provides both economic and conservation benefits by taking land out of agricultural production. Program successes include:
- Sequestering in soils and plants over 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), or about the same amount that the entire state of Delaware emits annually.
- Preventing more than 2 billion tons of soil from being blown away by wind erosion over the life of currently enrolled acres.
- Reducing phosphorous reaching streams by almost 85 million pounds, nitrogen by nearly 450 million pounds, and sediment by over 160 million tons in 2020 alone.
- Creating more than 2.3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 177,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world seven times.
- Establishing over a half million acres of dedicated pollinator habitat and nearly 15 million more acres of diverse plantings that provide forage for pollinators.
- Increasing populations of ducks and other game birds, prairie chickens, and such grassland songbirds as Baird’s Sparrow. CRP in the Northern Great Plains supports an estimated 8.6% of the grassland bird population.
- Increasing habitat that supports economic opportunities, such as job creation, related to hunting and fishing activities.
This signup for CRP gives producers an opportunity to enroll land for the first time or re-enroll land under existing contracts that will be expiring September 30, 2021. All interested producers, including those on Indian reservations and with trust lands, are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center for more information.