2014 Farm Bill Programs
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
Purpose of Program
- The Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program where landowners enroll agricultural land in contracts in return for an annual rental payment.
- CRP can perform one of three functions:
- Take highly erodible or environmentally sensitive farmland out of production;
- Enroll working grasslands in a managed grazing program; or
- to restore wetland functions and vegetation on farmed land.
- Texas currently has more than 3 million acres enrolled in CRP. Nationally there is a 27.5 million CRP acreage cap in 2014, which will be reduced in steps to 24 million acres in 2017. Two million of the 24 million acres have been reserved for the Working Grasslands Program, 750,000 acres have been set aside for the Farmable Wetland Program (FWP).
- All but federal lands are eligible.
- Farmland must have been cropped in 4 out of 6 years between 2007 and 2014 (3 out of 10 for the FWP).
- Working grasslands must contain grasses, forbs and shrubs suitable and in use for grazing.
- Enrollment in general CRP is limited to announced signup periods.
- Enrollment in Continuous CRP, Working Grasslands and Farmable Wetlands portion of the program is open year round.
- Expiring CRP contracts are eligible.
- Retired farmers or ranchers can also transfer expiring CRP land to beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran (ex-military) farmers and ranchers and receive 2 additional years of CRP payments. Certain conditions must be met.
Contracts and Cost-Share
- Contract Period - 10 -15 years
- Cost Share - Most practices receive a 50% cost share with additional incentive payments for certain CCRP practices. Landowners also receive a rental payment during each year of the contract. Most required mid-contract management practices are also cost shared. Rental payments on retired farmlands run between $30-$40/acre, payments are based on soil type, with better soils receiving higher rents. Working grassland payments will be no more than 75% of the current grazing value.
- CRP is run by the Farm Services Agency
- See link below
Common CRP Practices
- Establishment of permanent grasses and legumes (natives preferred)
- Permanent Wildlife Habitat
- Wildlife Wetland Habitat Management
- Shallow water areas for wildlife
- Grass field borders
- Riparian buffers
- Improved grazing management with deferments during spring fawning and nesting season for land enrolled in the Working Grasslands program
- After CRP Wildlife Economics
- After CRP Farming and Grazing Economics
- After CRP Land Management with Wildlife
For more information contact:
Chuck Kowaleski, Farm Bill Coordinator
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Phone: (254) 718-7684
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - Contact information from the US Dept. of Agriculture Service Center Locator for Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies.
- Farm Service Agency - FSA website for Texas Farm Service Agency Directory.