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Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

CRP is a voluntary program which offers financial incentives to private landowners to protect highly erodible and environmentally sensitive cropland by planting trees, grass, and other long-term cover. Additional goals are to reduce sedimentation, improve water quality, foster wildlife habitat, provide income support for farmers, and to protect the Nation's long-term capacity to produce food and fiber. The CRP program has been revised and extended through 2002.


Key Provisions:

  • Uses an offer selection system based on an environmental benefits index (EBI), which quantifies potential enhancements to a wide range of natural and cultural resources.

  • Requires a contract term of between 10 and 15 years (new enrollments can replace expired or terminated contracts).

  • Participants receive annual per-acre rental payments plus cost-share assistance.

  • Provides up to 50% of the costs of installing approved conservation practices.



The participant must have owned the land for at least one year, unless it was inherited or it can be shown that it was not acquired for the purpose of enrolling it in the program. The land itself must:

  • Be physically and legally capable of agricultural production.

  • Have been planted in an agricultural commodity in two of the five most recent crop years.

- or -

  • Be marginal pasture land that is either: certain acreage enrolled in the Water Bank Program, or suitable for use as a riparian buffer to be planted in trees.


How to Apply: 

Sign-up is continuous for riparian buffer strips. For the rest of the program there are regularly scheduled sign-up windows or periods after which applications are ranked and selected. For further information or to obtain an application form, contact your local                                       or 



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