CRP expanded to boost enrollment, address climate change

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe

The Conservation Reserve Program will see a higher payment rate for those who enroll in the program which will also see new incentives and a focus on climate change, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Last week the USDA announced an expansion of the CRP program including partnership investments of $330 million in 85 regional CRP projects and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials to increase climate-smart agriculture.

“Sometimes the best solutions are right in front of you. With CRP, the United States has one of the world’s most successful voluntary conservation programs," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "We need to invest in CRP and let it do what it does best—preserve topsoil, sequester carbon, and reduce the impacts of climate change. "We also recognize that we can’t do it alone. At the White House Climate Leaders Summit, we will engage leaders from all around the world to partner with us on addressing climate change. Here at home, we’re working in partnership with producers and local organizations through USDA programs to bring new voices and communities to the table to help combat climate change.”

Conservation Reserve Program

By raising rental payment rates, the USDA will look to enroll an additional four million new acres in CRP and expand incentivized environmental practices that fits within the program guidelines.

CRP provides annual rental payments for 10 to 15 years for land devoted to conservation purposes, as well as other types of payments.

CRP provides both economic and conservation benefits by taking land out of agricultural production as one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States

According to the USDA, if the goal of adding four million acres into the program is met, it will mitigate an additional three million metric tons of CO2 equivalent and prevent 90 million pounds of nitrogen and 33 million tons of sediment from running into waterways each year.

“We want to make sure CRP continues to be a valuable and effective conservation resource for our producers for decades to come,” said Vilsack. “USDA will continue to find new and creative ways of putting producers and landowners at the center of climate-smart practices that generate revenue and benefit our planet.”

New Climate-Smart Practice Incentive

For climate change mitigation, the USDA Farm Service Agency is introducing the new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive for CRP that will look to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate-Smart CRP practices will include: establishment of trees and permanent grasses; development of wildlife habitat and wetland restoration. The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive will be an annual program with the amount based on benefits of each practice type.

For more information, visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/conservation-reserve-program/.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com