Agricultural producers and private landowners have a narrow window to sign up the new round of the popular Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP. Sign-up began Jan. 4 and ends Feb. 12.
The program, administered by the Farm Service Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides rental payments for land devoted to conservation.
According to USDA:
"New cropland offered in the program must have been planted for four out of six crop years from 2012 to 2017. Additionally, producers with land already enrolled but expiring on Sept. 30, 2021, can re-enroll this year. The acreage offered by producers and landowners is evaluated competitively; accepted offers will begin Oct. 1, 2021."
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing various conservation and economic benefits.