June 6, 2008
June 6, 2008 -U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency Administrator Teresa Lasseter this week released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 report on the nation's largest private lands conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
"There is significant on-going interest in CRP. It remains the largest public-private conservation partnership in America," said Lasseter. "The CRP has proven to be a dynamic and flexible program in achieving a wide variety of conservation goals, including helping protect sources for New York City's drinking water supply; providing habitat for game birds, endangered species and other wildlife; and preserving ground and surface water supplies in western states. This report demonstrates how participation in CRP helps preserve our nation's resources."
The FY 2007 CRP annual report, titled "CRP Enrollment Statistics and Program Summary," is now available at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/annual_consv_2007.pdf
The publication summarizes CRP's accomplishments and reports that in FY 2007 CRP reduced runoff of sediment by 207 million tons; lessened nitrogen runoff by 480 million pounds; decreased runoff of phosphorus by 108 million pounds; reduced soil erosion by wind and water by 470 million tons; sequestered 50 million tons of carbon dioxide; restored or maintained 2.1 million acres of wetland and adjacent upland buffers; and established or maintained 1.9 million acres of grass and forested buffers along the nation's rivers and streams.
The report also provides a synopsis of CRP activities in FY 2007 and a legislative and programmatic history of CRP going back to CRP's initial authorization in the 1985 farm bill.
FSA implements CRP on behalf of USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). CRP is the nation's largest private-lands conservation program with more than 36 million acres under contract in FY 2007. Through CRP, farmers and ranchers enroll eligible land in 10- to 15-year contracts. Participants plant appropriate cover such as grasses and trees in crop fields and along streams. The plantings help prevent soil and nutrients from runoff into regional waterways, affecting water quality. The long-term vegetative cover also improves wildlife habitat and soil quality.