CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM: YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION
This month, farmers are able to enroll or re-enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), one of the nation’s largest voluntary conservation programs.
“Over the past 30 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the largest and most important USDA efforts. CRP continues to make major environmental improvements to water and air quality. Further, it continues its primary mission of preventing soil erosion with cover vegetation on the most sensitive areas, including those prone to severe damage caused by weather,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Farmers and ranchers can enroll in the voluntary program beginning Dec. 1, 2015, and ending on Feb. 26, 2016. December 2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of CRP.
Since it was established on Dec. 23, 1985, CRP has:
- Prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;
- Reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively;
- Sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road.
Since 1996, CRP has created nearly 2.7 million acres of restored wetlands.
As of 2015, CRP is protecting more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world 7 times.
For an interactive tour of CRP success stories from across the U.S., please visit the FSA CRP 30th Anniversary website or follow on Twitter at #CRPis30.
The Conservation Reserve Program was re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.