Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land, demonstrating CRP's continuing appeal as one of our nation's most successful voluntary programs for soil, water and wildlife conservation. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP contracts since 2009. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts.
CRP is a voluntary program that allows eligible landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of their 10 to 15 year contracts.
USDA selected offers for enrollment based on an Environmental Benefits Index comprised of five environmental factors plus cost. The five environmental factors are wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality.