Conservation Programs for Farmers

 

Enroll in federal conservation programs and get paid for being a good steward of your land.

Conservation Reserve Program

  • Continuous Sign Up or General Sign Up: Dec. 1- Feb. 26
  • Program Description: Farmers/landowners remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production in exchange for a yearly rental payment (market value). The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
  • Contract length: 10-15 years
  • Maximum payment: $50,000 per year
  • Who is Eligible: Any farmer who has owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior the previous CRP sign-up period
  • What type of land is eligible: Cropland (in production 4 out of the last 6 years) or Marginal Pastureland
  • How to enroll:
    1. Contact your local FSA office (find your office: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/stateOffices?area=stoffice&subject=landing&topic=landing)
    2. Register your farm for a farm number
    3. Apply
  • Key Stipulation: Land must be removed from production

Find out more: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/conservation-reserve-program/index

 

Transition Incentives Program (sub-program of CRP)

  • Continuous Sign Up
  • Program Description: It provides the retired/retiring land owners or operators with two additional annual rental payments on land enrolled in expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, on the condition they sell or rent this land to abeginning farmer or rancher or to a socially disadvantaged group. New land owners or renters must return the land to production using sustainable grazing or farming methods.
  • Contract length: Two additional years past CRP contract date
  • Who is Eligible: Any farmer/landowner who has a CRP contract
  • What type of land is eligible: Cropland (in production 4 out of the last 6 years) or Marginal Pastureland
  • How to enroll:
    1. Contact your local FSA office (find your office: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/stateOffices?area=stoffice&subject=landing&topic=landing)
    2. Register your farm for a farm number
    3. Apply

Find out more: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/transition-incentives/index

 

Conservation Stewardship Program

  • Continuous Sign Up but considered during ranking periods
  • Program Description: The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance – the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
  • Contract length: 5 years. Producers may be able to renew a contract if they have successfully fulfilled the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives.
  • Payments: Two types of payments: annual payments for installing new conservation activities and maintaining existing practices; and supplemental payments for adopting a resource-conserving crop rotation.
  • Who is Eligible: Open to all producers who have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract
  • What type of land is eligible: cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land
  • How to enroll:
    1. Contact your local NRCS office (find your office: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/contact/local/)
    2. Register your farm for a farm number
    3. Apply
  • Key Stipulation: Land can remain in production

Find out more: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp/

 

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

  • Continuous Sign Up but considered during ranking periods
  • Program Description: EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts that provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.
  • Contract length: 10 years
  • Payments: Project based
  • Who is Eligible: Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land.
  • Types of projects: Seasonal high tunnel, air quality initiatives, Organic transition, on-farm energy initiatives (See more: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/eqip/)
  • How to enroll:
    1. Contact your local NRCS office (find your office: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/contact/local/)
    2. Register your farm for a farm number
    3. Apply
  • Find out more: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/eqip/