Pheasants Forever Nebraska

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Signups for 2022

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2022 – Agricultural producers and landowners can sign up soon for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a cornerstone conservation program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a key tool in the Biden-Harris Administration effort to address climate change and achieve other natural resource benefits. The General CRP signup will run from Jan. 31 to March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13.

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FSA Accepting Applications for CRP Playa Wetlands Project: Migratory Bird SAFE

Landowners in portions of 42 Nebraska counties have the opportunity to apply for a special Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup called the Nebraska CRP Migratory Birds, Butterflies, and Pollinators State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) project. The Migratory Bird SAFE is designed to establish wildlife habitat on playa wetlands. The program signup is continuous, but the deadline to submit applications for consideration in the first round is Feb. 18, 2022. Contact your county FSA office and review this Fact Sheet for additional details.

CRP general signup opportunities and information

General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022.

In 2021, the USDA introduced higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. To learn more about updates to CRP, read the “What’s New with CRP” fact sheet.

Step 1: Learn the basics of CRP enrollment

If you’re looking for information on the Conservation Reserve Program and how to enroll, you’ve come to the right place. Watch this video to get a better understanding of the program basics such as eligibility requirements, enrollment steps, and what producers should know as they prepare for the General CRP sign-up.

For more information on CRP, visit or contact your local USDA Service Center.

Step 2: CRP Q & A Sessions on Zoom

The Q and A Sessions for 2021 have past. The sessions were recorded and can be viewed below. If you still have questions about the upcoming CRP signups, please reach out to your local USDA Service Center or Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist.

CRP updates

The 2018 Farm Bill raised the CRP acreage cap from 24 million to 27 million acres by FY 2023. This includes a minimum allocation of 2 million acres for CRP Grasslands.

During a CRP general signup, land is offered into the program on a competitive basis and ranked based on environmental benefits and costs. 3.4 million acres (89% of offers) were accepted during the last CRP general signup, including 131,209 acres in Nebraska.

Environmental Benefits Index

Because CRP is competitive, not all offers will be accepted into the program. Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) factors are used to score and rank each tract of land offered for general enrollment. The following fact sheets provide an overview of EBI factors, as well as insight on how producers can maximize EBI points and increase the likelihood that an offer will be accepted.

CRP General EBI fact sheet
EBI quick hitters

Soil Rental Rates

The 2018 Farm Bill limits CRP soil rental rates general CRP and continuous CRP enrollment contracts to not more than 85% and 90% of the average county rental rate, respectively.

Nebraska County Average Soil Rental Rates for General CRP
Nebraska County Average Soil Rental Rates for Continuous CRP

Step 3: Contact your local USDA Service Center

Landowners and producers interested in CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program — for General CRP before the March 11 deadline, and for Grassland CRP before the May 13 deadline.

FSA administers CRP while conservation planning assistance is provided by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and technical service providers (TSP) including Pheasants Forever’s Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists. To submit a CRP offer, producers must contact their local FSA office. FSA will accept offers only during the enrollment period. Producers are also encouraged to consult with NRCS or Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists to discuss conservation goals and options to increase the likelihood that a CRP offer will be accepted.

COVID-19 and FSA: Most Service Centers Open by Phone Appointment Only
In response to COVID-19, most USDA Service Centers in Nebraska are open by phone appointment only at this time. Please call your county FSA office for service. Service Center staff in all offices also continue to work with customers via virtual/online meetings, email and other digital tools. To find your office contact information, click here.

Additional Resources:

USDA Expands and Renews Conservation Reserve Program in Effort to Boost Enrollment 

There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022. The cap will gradually increase to 27 million acres by 2023. To help increase producer interest and enrollment, FSA is:

  • Adjusting soil rental rates. This enables additional flexibility for rate adjustments, including a possible increase in rates where appropriate.
  • Increasing 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.
  • Increasing 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.
  • Establishing a CRP Grassland minimum rental rate. This benefits more than 1,300 counties with rates currently below the minimum.

Contact a biologist

Pheasants Forever’s Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists work one-on-one with landowners in Nebraska to help them enroll in local, state, and federal conservation programs such as CRP. Biologists also provide technical assistance for CRP establishment, cover upgrades, and other management activities. Contact a biologist to schedule a field visit or to discuss enrollment opportunities. We also have a series of habitat management fact sheets and videos that might help answer your questions.

Need more incentives to enroll?

Landowners may qualify for incentives by working with a private lands biologist from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Additionally, landowners may receive up to $10 per acre in exchange for providing public hunting access on CRP. Through the Berggren Plan for Pheasants, the Commission is concentrating on improving habitat and hunter access in 8 areas of Nebraska. For more information, visit or reach out to a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologist by contacting an office near you.

Signup Period: Jan. 31 to March 11, 2022
Producers with eligible lands compete nationally for acceptance based on an environmental benefits index (EBI) during specified enrollment periods. Producers may submit offers below soil-specific maximum rental rates and select wildlife-enhancing vegetative covers to increase EBI ranking.

Signup period is ongoing.
Producers with eligible lands may enroll certain high priority conservation practices, such as filter strips, riparian buffers, and wetlands at any time during the year without competition. In addition to annual soil rental payment and cost-share assistance, many practices are eligible for additional annual and one-time up-front financial incentives.

Signup Period: April 4 to May 13, 2022
CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, and certain other lands while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. No cropping history is required. A separate CRP Grasslands signup is offered each year following general signup.

Open Fields and Waters (OFW) is a voluntary program that offers financial incentives to landowners willing to allow public walk-in access for hunting, trapping, and/or fishing. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields and other undisturbed grasslands are ideal for OFW. To enroll in OFW, contact your local Nebraska Game & Parks Commission office.