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Serving: IA

CRP sign-up to open in early 2021

Farm Progress Panoramic view of conservation efforts across acreage
GET READY: If you have questions about enrolling land in the Conservation Reserve Program or its grassland program, contact your FSA office.
USDA announces Conservation Reserve Program sign-up periods for next year.

USDA on Nov. 12 announced that the 2021 sign-up periods for the general Conservation Reserve Program will be from Jan. 4 to Feb. 12, and for CRP Grasslands from March 15 to April 23. Both programs are competitive and provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“The Conservation Reserve Program and the many focused programs that come under it, like CRP Grasslands, are some of our most critical tools we have to help producers better manage their operations while conserving natural resources,” says Bob Wegand, acting state executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Iowa. “As one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors, CRP has proven to protect our valuable resources. And next year’s sign-up gives farmers and ranchers an opportunity to enroll in CRP for the first time or continue their participation for another term.”

Consider enrollment options

Both programs are competitive and provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes:

General CRP. Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general sign-up is held annually. The competitive general sign-up includes increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.

Grasslands CRP. CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and certain other lands while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and improves environmental quality. A separate CRP Grasslands sign-up is offered each year following general sign-up.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. The program marks its 35-year anniversary this December. Program successes include:

• preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks
• reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85%, respectively
• sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road
• creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times
•  benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds.

The success of CRP contributes to USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda and goal of reducing the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture by half by 2050. Earlier this year, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the department-wide initiative to align resources, programs and research to position U.S. agriculture to better meet future global demands. For information on CRP, visit or your local FSA county office.


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