USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands from July 12 to August 20, 2021. The program is an effort to help landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland, while while still using them for grazing. Participants receive annual payments of not more than 75% of the value of the land and not less than $15 an acre. Enrolled grasslands can be grazed, hayed, mowed or harvested for seed production.
This is a competitive process. Participants are selected based on the relative benefits for the land offered by the landowner/operator. Each eligible offer is ranked in comparison to all other eligible offers and selections for acceptance are made from that ranking. Ranking factors include:
• Existence of expiring CRP;
• Existing Grassland;
• Existing Multi-species cover and predominance of native species;
• State Focus Area (land-based) determined in consultation with State Technical Committee;
• Applicant is an eligible Beginning, Veteran, or Socially Disadvantaged farmer or rancher;
• Existing Small Livestock Operation;
• Cost; and
• Other factors as determined by FSA
Small Livestock Operations Welcome!
Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer grazing dairy cows or the equivalent can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres per operation. To figure out what that means for you, check out the table below showing Animal Unit Equivalents:
The CRP Grasslands program emphasizes support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity and grassland and land containing shrubs and forbs under the greatest threat of conversion. Participation in the program can also make you eligible for 50% cost-share assistance when you establish approved practices that address these issues. To be eligible land must be currently planted to grass cover and you must have owned or operated it for at least 12 months prior to the application deadline (though there are exceptions in cases of inheritance and foreclosure).
How to Get Involved
To enroll in the CRP Grasslands signup, contact your local USDA Service Center. While USDA offices may have limited visitors because of the pandemic, Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools.
More Information on CRP
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. The program marked its 35-year anniversary this past December.
Today, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity, and natural resources, including our soil, air and water. Through conservation practices, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments.