CRP Acres Down

USDA has accepted more than 2 million acres in offers from ag producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program or CRP general signup. This included more than 5,000 acres in Wisconsin.

This is the first of the program’s multiple signups happening this year, with about 3.4 million acres expiring this year. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encourages producers and landowners to consider the Grassland and Continuous signups, both of which are currently open. 

USDA Secretary Vilsack comments on CRP numbers

Wisconsin FSA Director Gene Schriefer says CRP is an important tool in helping mitigate climate change and conserve natural resources. He adds this announcment is just the first opportunity for producers to take advantage of the program.

“Our conservation programs are voluntary, and at the end of the day, producers are making their decisions based upon their own priorities, balancing their desire for environmental protection of highly erodible and sensitive lands and economics, as the program was designed to allow and encourages,” says Schriefer.

He says producers are still looking at options under the working-lands Grassland Conservation Reserve Program, the more targeted buffer-type practices under Continuous CRP, and partnership opportunities through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program or CREP. 

“For farmers who have decided to return all or a portion of their land into production agriculture, USDA will also be reaching out to ensure they understand and can take advantage of options to either prepare the land for production or transition it to beginning farmers,” says Schriefer. 

USDA Secretary Vilsack explains how the agency is balancing CRP and climate initiatives with the need for more production agriculture

Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. Offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower compared to last year’s numbers, with fewer than 400,000 acres being offered this year versus over 700,000 acres offered last year. 

The three other types of CRP—Grasslands, Continuous, and CREP—are still available for either working-lands or targeted, often smaller sub-field, offers. Producers have submitted offers on nearly 260,000 acres through the Continuous and CREP signup so far this year. The Grassland signup – which last year had its highest participation ever – closes Friday, May 13. 

The General CRP Signup 58 ran from Jan. 31 to March 11.

Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural land. In addition to the other well-documented benefits, lands enrolled in CRP are playing a key role in climate change mitigation efforts across the country. 

USDA Secretary Vilsack touts CRP program

In 2021, FSA introduced improvements to the program, which included a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This incentive provides a 3 percent, 5 percent or 10 percent incentive payment based on the predominant vegetation type for the practices enrolled — from grasses to trees to wetland restoration.