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Science Technology and Environment

USDA's Voluntary Conservation Program Opens Enrollment For Farmers and Ranchers

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Rubias Galegas
/
Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Tuesday opened enrollment for the Conservation Reserve Program.

The Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, is a voluntary conservation program that helps farmers and ranchers protect grasslands while using the land for grazing purposes.

It works like this: In exchange for an annual rental payment, farmers agree to stop ag production on environmentally sensitive land and plant species that improve environmental health and quality. The contracts for the land enrolled last 10-15 years.

In April, the USDA announced increased rent payments and offered new incentives as part of an effort to enroll 4 million new acres.

President Ronald Reagan signed CRP into law in 1985. It’s one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States that helps improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

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