FSA programs explained: CRP – a continuous sign-up | TSLN.com

FSA programs explained: CRP – a continuous sign-up

For the September 17, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

A while back, I asked a rancher if he was interested in fencing out part of a creek that ran through his property through a program called Continuous CRP. By keeping the livestock out of the creek, he could establish a riparian area to benefit wildlife habitat. The rancher said that the proposal sounded interesting and invited myself and a representative from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to stop out to the ranch and discuss the proposal with his brother. At the ranch, his brother said to me, “Why do you want to fence out the creek?”

I was taken aback by the question. It seems that in my attempt to introduce this rancher to some of the options available through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the project had become something that I wanted to develop. The truth of the matter is that CRP is not a project that the Farm Service Agency or the NRCS solely develops, but a conservation project that the producer develops with the incentives from the FSA and technical assistance from the NRCS. Our conservation programs should be a tool that can help you see your project through. Through incentives and technical assistance, conservation practices can be feasible if you have a need and desire to implement such conserving practices that address a resource concern.

One such conservation program administered by FSA is CRP. Most people are aware that this program exists and refer to it as a set aside program that takes cropland out of production. However, CRP is much more than just a set aside program. Through a provision called Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) the FSA has many different conservation practices that are available year-round. These practices include, but are not limited to: tree shelter belts, grass filter strips, wildlife habitats and riparian buffers. If you have a desire to implement some type of conserving practices, CCRP may be a program to help you accomplish this.

CCRP differs from normal CRP in that CCRP offers additional incentives to implement such practices. One such incentive is the Signing Incentive Payment (SIP). Producers that enroll their land in a CCRP contract receive a one-time payment of $100 per acre of land enrolled.

In addition to the SIP, producers will receive cost-share assistance, usually around 50 percent of the cost, to establish the practice. In addition to the cost share assistance, the producer will receive an additional 40 percent of the cost to establish the practice through an incentive payment called the Practice Incentive Payment (PIP). Through the cost-share and PIP, producers may receive about 90 percent of the cost to establish the conserving practice.

CCRP practices may offer higher rental rates than those practices offered through regular CRP. Depending upon the practice, CCRP contracts may receive a rental rate that is 20 percent higher than regular CRP. Also, CCRP contracts may be eligible for an additional $5 per acre maintenance depending upon the type of practices implemented.

Once all of the incentive payments and annual rental payments are considered, a CCRP contract could more than pay for the cost to implement the practice, which should provide a pretty decent incentive to implement your practice. However, CCRP begins with you and a desire to implement conserving practices on your land.

james r. neill is the county executive director for the farm service agency of meade county (sd) and may be contacted at james.neill@sd.usda.gov. questions about the conservation reserve program or any other program administered by the farm service agency should be directed to you local farm service agency service center.

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