The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA- FSA) has announced a new general signup period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) running from Feb. 27-April 7, 2023. CRP has long been the nation’s most important tool for targeting environmentally sensitive lands with conservation practices that produce wildlife habitat, cleaner waters, healthier soils and a more resilient climate. Landowners should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to learn more about general CRP eligibility.
“CRP has always been a key tool for American farmers, ranchers and landowners,” said Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s director of government affairs. “CRP enables producers to enroll difficult-to-farm acres in the program to improve wildlife habitat, soil health, water quality and climate resiliency, and is a key part of the economic safety net for rural communities. As the country looks to improve its ecological impacts and economic standing, CRP should be celebrated as a method for bolstering both sides of the equation.”
The Conservation Reserve Program has supported wildlife populations and rural communities since President Ronald Reagan signed CRP into law on December 23, 1985. There are currently 23 million acres enrolled with a 27-million-acre cap set for fiscal year 2023. Additionally, producers and landowners can enroll acres under the continuous signup, including sought after practices such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.
The Farm Service Agency will also announce the dates for a Grassland CRP signup in the coming weeks. Grassland CRP is a working lands program helping landowners and operators protect grasslands, including rangeland and pastureland while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands.
“The Conservation Reserve Program is one of the largest private lands conservation programs in the United States, offering a range of options to farmers, ranchers and landowners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “CRP has and continues to be a great fit for farmers with less productive or marginal cropland, helping them reestablish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and support wildlife habitat. Under this administration, we have made several updates to the program to increase producer interest and enrollment, strengthen the climate benefits of the program and help ensure underserved producers can find a pathway to entry into CRP.”
The welcomed news also comes as The Habitat Organization readies for National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2023, the annual celebration of upland conservation that will take place in Minneapolis, Minn. on February 17-19. The event, including a Landowner Workshop and Habitat Help Desk, is a great opportunity for landowners to learn more about CRP and begin the signup process with the help of a professional wildlife biologist.
To locate one of the more than 325+ Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever biologists throughout the United States and begin mapping out a conservation plan, visit our biologist locator to search by zip code.
About Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 400,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 575,000+ habitat projects benefiting 24 million acres.