CRP and How Corn Prices Affect Enrollment Trends

CRP and How Corn Prices Affect Enrollment Trends
Associate Professor and Extension Policy Specialist
Wild grass and flowers.

Photo by UDSA NRCS Montana (Flicker/Public Domain)

This article was published online by Nebraska Farmer on Jan. 8, 2021.

The USDA Farm Service Agency is rolling out a new round of Conservation Reserve Program sign-up in early 2021. The competitive general sign-up for CRP runs from Jan. 4 to Feb. 12, while the relatively new CRP Grasslands program holds its competitive sign-up from March 15 to April 23.

Of course, landowners also can enroll certain priority acres and practices at any time through the Continuous CRP program without facing competition for acceptance.

Over its 35-year existence, CRP has set aside millions of acres out of production into conservation uses, reducing soil erosion, improving wildlife habitat and vegetation, protecting water quality, and capturing carbon with permanent vegetative cover.

When CRP was originally included in the 1985 Farm Bill, it was valued by a coalition of agricultural groups and environmental groups as much for its role in taking cropland out of production at a time of excess supplies and low commodity prices as it was for its environmental benefits.

Since then, the program has transitioned more toward its environmental objectives with general enrollment selection based on environmental benefits — as well as the introduction of targeted enrollments through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Continuous CRP, CRP Grasslands program and other provisions.

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