Conservation Reserve Program

To protect the Nation's long-term capability to produce food and fiber; to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water quality, and create a better habitat for wildlife.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Consult the local telephone directory for location of the county FSA office, under U. S. Government, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

If no listing, contact the appropriate State FSA office listed in the FSA section of Appendix IV of the Catalog.


Program Accomplishments

Currently, approximately 33.5 million acres are enrolled in the CRP. Each contract covers an average of 74 acres with an average rental rate of $45.95 per acre. This is based on the latest actual data.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Eligible owners or operators may place highly erodible or other environmentally sensitive land into a 10-15 year contract.

The participant, in return for annual payments, agrees to implement a conservation plan approved by the local conservation district for converting highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive land to a long-term resource conserving cover i.e., eligible land must be planted with a vegetative cover, such as, perennial grasses, legumes, fobs, shrubs, or trees.

The participant agrees to reduce the aggregate total of allotments and quotas by an amount based on the ratio of the total cropland acreage on each farm, to the total acreage on each farm subject to the CRP contract.

Financial and technical assistance are available to participants to assist in the establishment of a long- term resource conserving cover.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An individual, partnership, association, Indian Tribal ventures corporation, estate, trust, other business enterprises or other legal entities and, whenever applicable, a State, a political subdivision of a State, or any agency thereof may submit an offer to enroll acreage.

Beneficiary Eligibility

If their offer is accepted for enrollment, an individual, partnership, association, Indian Tribal ventures, corporation, estate, trust, other business enterprises or other legal entities and, whenever applicable, a State, political subdivision of State, or any agency thereof may earn benefits.

Credentials/Documentation

The land must be owned or operated for not less than 12 months prior to the close of the signup period, unless the land was acquired by will or succession or FSA determines that ownership was not acquired for the purpose of placing the land in the CRP. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An environmental impact assessment has been prepared for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No.

A-102 and E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

FSA has three methods for enrolling acreage in the CRP. One method is a continuous signup process where acreage suitable for certain environmental priority practices, including but not limited to grass waterways, riparian buffers or filterstrips, and acreage within wellhead protection areas may be offered and accepted without going through a competitive offer process. The second method is similar to continuous signup and is available only in distinct geographic areas. These areas are targeted by FSA and State governments under partnership agreements. The third method is to offer acreage during a general signup period where eligible offers to enroll highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive acreage are submitted and ranked competitively based on an environmental benefits index. Regardless of the method of enrollment, the local FSA office that serves the area in which the farm or ranch is located will provide the maximum payment rate CCC will accept to enroll certain acreage in the program. Producers may submit a rental rate per acre offered that may be equal to or less than CCC's maximum payment rate. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-110.

Award Procedures

FSA will notify persons whose offers are determined acceptable as soon as practicable after the close of the signup.

Deadlines

The offer must be filed at the county FSA office by the end of the announced signup period.

Authorization

Food Security Act of 1985, Title XII, Public Law 99-198, as amended; Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624; Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 7 to 120 days.

Appeals

Producers may appeal any determination to county FSA committee, State committee, or National Appeals Division. Matters that are generally applicable to all producers are not appealable.

Renewals

Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Annual rental payments in cash or generic commodity certificates will be made for 10-15 years. If cost-share assistance to establish the appropriate cover was requested, a payment will be made after the practice is successfully established according to applicable guidelines. FSA may provide certain incentives for restoring wetlands or other lands.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

None.

Audits

Recipients are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Records

Maintained in county FSA office and Federal Record centers for a specified number of years.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-3319-0-1-302; 12-4336-0-1-302.

Obigations

(Direct Payments) Financial Assistance: FY 07 $1,969,880,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$50 to $50,000; $4,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program is announced through news media and in letters to agricultural producers in the county. Regulations published in the Federal Register, 7 CFR part 1410.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Consult the local telephone directory for location of the county FSA office, under U.S. Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. If no listing, contact the appropriate State FSA office listed in the FSA section of Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

USDA/FSA/CEPD, Stop 0513, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0513. Telephone: (202) 720-6221.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

County FSA offices will provide producers the maximum acceptable rental rate for the acreage offered. All offers submitted under a general signup will be screened at both the local and national level to determine the suitability of the acreage and acceptability of the rental rate offered. In addition, offers will be evaluated in terms of cost for the environmental benefits obtained. Acres accepted will be limited to the Secretary's authority to maintain 36.4 million acres or less as determined by the Secretary.



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