The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to conserve environmentally sensitive land voluntarily. In the 1985 Farm Bill the CRP supported 37 million acres, devoted to conserving soil, water, and wildlife habitat; however, in the most recent Farm Bill, it has been whittled down to 24 million acres. The CRP is designed to safeguard the nation’s natural resources.
Landowners enrolled in the program plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. The Farm Service Agency uses the following factors to assess the environmental benefits for the land offered:
- Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage
- Water quality benefits from reduced erosion, runoff, and leaching
- On-farm benefits from reduced erosion
- Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period
- Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion
Sportsmen all over the country want to maintain resilient fish and game populations, and CRP is one of the most successful conservation programs for private lands. Sportsmen and landowners can show their support for enhancing the program in the next Farm Bill. This coalition of sportsmen’s groups – including the National Deer Alliance, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership—are rallying conservation advocates.
For more information about CRP, please visit their website.