General CRP Sign-Up Deadline Extended
WASHINGTON, February 5, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup period, which had previously been announced as ending on Feb. 12, 2021. USDA will continue to accept offers as it takes this opportunity for the incoming Administration to evaluate ways to increase enrollment. Under the previous Administration, incentives and rental payment rates were reduced resulting in an enrollment shortfall of over 4 million acres. The program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for 10 to 15 years for land devoted to conservation purposes, as well as other types of payments.
Before the General CRP signup period ends, producers will have the opportunity to adjust or resubmit their offers to take advantage of planned improvements to the program.
CRP general signup opportunities and information
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will conduct a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup from January 4, 2021 to February 12, 2021, followed by a signup for CRP Grasslands from March 15, 2021 to April 23, 2021. With COVID-19 concerns, it’s going to be impossible to hold public information meetings. However, we have online resources and virtual meetings available to help you prepare for the CRP general signup period. Get started by watching the CRP information video below.
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 January 4th to February 12, 2021. If you have any unanswered questions, we invite you to join us for live Q & A sessions on Zoom. Register here!
CRP Practice Fact Sheets
Habitat Management Fact Sheets
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.
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.
Step 3: Contact your local USDA Service Center
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.
Coronavirus and USDA Service Center Status
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with producers in the office, by phone, and using online tools. Check for Service Center status updates online at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status.
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 CRPsignup.com or reach out to a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologist by contacting an office near you.
Signup Period: Jan.4, 2021 to Feb. 12, 2021
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: March 15, 2021 to April 23, 2021
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.