The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the acceptance of more than one million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) general signup. These acres, combined with the anticipated enrollment of CRP’s grassland and continuous sign ups, will help offset the 2 million acres scheduled to expire in 2023 — resulting in a net gain in total acres for the third consecutive year.
“Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are excited to celebrate another successful CRP general sign up,” said Jim Inglis, director of government affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “These numbers illustrate continued demand for the program across the country, and we’re pleased to see the third consecutive year with a net increase in CRP acres.”
Like other USDA conservation programs, CRP is a voluntary program that has a variety of options that can be tailored to the specific conservation issues of a state or region. The options run the gamut from working lands such as CRP Grasslands to partnerships with states and private entities to target a specific joint concern such as water quality or quantity, or particular wildlife species such as pheasants or quail.
“We look forward to using the momentum generated by this good news as a catalyst for further investment in conservation as we work with our elected officials in Congress,” Inglis said “Improvements to the 2023 Farm Bill, particularly through increased soil rental rates for landowners, could expand CRP’s ability to provide conservation options — helping achieve multiple land use goals including increased wildlife habitat, improved water quality, soil health benefits, climate resiliency measures and safeguarding rural economies.”
“This year’s General CRP signup demonstrates the value and continued strength of this voluntary conservation program, which plays an important role in helping bolster climate resiliency and conserve our natural resources,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Today’s announcement is one of many enrollment and partnership opportunities within CRP, including opportunities through our working lands Grassland CRP, Continuous CRP, and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). USDA will continue working to ensure producers and landowners have the information they need to take advantage of the options that work best for their operations.”
Offers for new land in this General CRP signup totaled about 295,000 acres nationwide. Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for 891,000 expiring acres, reflecting the successes of participating in CRP longer term. The total number of CRP acres will continue to climb in the coming weeks once FSA accepts acres from the Grassland CRP signup, which closed May 26. Additionally, so far this year, FSA has received 761,000 offered acres for the Continuous CRP signup, for which FSA accepts applications year-round.
The number of accepted acres that are enrolled in General CRP will be confirmed later this year. Participating producers and landowners should also remember that submitting and accepting a CRP offer is the first step, and producers still need to develop a conservation plan before contracts become effective on October 1, 2023. Each year, during the window between offer acceptance and land enrollment, some producers ultimately decide not to enroll some accepted acres, without penalty.
About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 400,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 575,000 habitat projects benefiting 24 million acres.