The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set a July 23, 2021, deadline for producers and landowners to apply for General CRP. This year, USDA updated both General and Continuous CRP options to provide greater incentives for producers and increase its conservation benefits, including reducing the impacts of climate change.
CRP is a federally-funded voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so that environmentally sensitive agricultural land is not farmed, but instead devoted to conservation benefits. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses, forbs, or trees to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, the Farm Services Agency (FSA) provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for practice establishment. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Accepted contracts for this CRP enrollment period will become effective Oct. 1, 2021.
In addition to annual rental payments, FSA is offering new or improved incentives this year:
New one-time 10% “inflationary” adjustment for annual payment rates for both General and Continuous CRP
NewClimate-Smart Practice Incentive for CRP general and continuous signups that aims to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive is annual, and the amount (3%, 5%, or 10%) is based on the benefits of each practice type.
Increased payments for Practice Incentives from 20% to 50%. This incentive for continuous CRP practices is based on the cost of establishment and is in addition to cost share payments.
Increased payments for water quality practices. Rates are increasing from 10% to 20% for certain water quality benefiting practices available through the CRP continuous signup, such as grassed waterways, riparian buffers, and filter strips.
All newly enrolled State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) CCRP practices are eligible for Sign-up Incentive payments (SIPs), 50% Practice Incentive payments (PIPs), and inflationary payment rate adjustments. Select SAFE practices will also be eligible for the 20% water quality rental rate incentive.
For over 35 years, CRP has improved soil, water and air quality, wildlife habitat and environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands and bottomland forests. CRP practices benefit bees and other pollinators and improve habitat for ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other grassland birds in Missouri.
To enroll in the CRP General signup, producers and landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center by the July 23 deadline. While USDA offices may have limited visitors because of the pandemic, Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Contact information can be found at farmers.gov/service-locator.
Contact your local Private Land Conservationist at https://mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage/local-mdc-contacts or your local Quail Forever Biologist at https://missouripfqf.org/contact for technical information on developing wildlife habitat on CRP.
CRP on the Missouri landscape serves an essential role in the protection and enhancement of Missouri’s water quality, soil quality and wildlife habitat.