Joining the Conservation Reserve Program is a multistep process that even experienced farmers can find overwhelming. However, that shouldn’t stop you from joining. Since launching, CRP has helped countless farmers and landowners restore health to their soil while protecting local water supplies and providing habitat for wildlife.
Your local USDA office can help you get started, answering questions and walking you through the initial steps.
The process starts with creating a conservation plan. You’ll need this developed before you can start buying CRP seed and preparing your land for CRP establishment. The specifics of this plan can vary quite a bit from farm to farm, as it is developed around your location, the condition of your land, your general goals, and more.
Still, there is a general outline that conservation plans tend to follow. Here is what you can expect during the creation of your plan.
The first thing that needs to be done is an overall evaluation. General information needs to be gathered such as soil quality measurements, crop yields, water quality, and more. This will help identify current problems, future concerns, and potential opportunities. Other factors to be considered include whether you plan on returning your land to crop production when your contract ends, how long the land will stay in the family, and more.
Compile and Analyze Data
With the necessary information gathered, a clear view of your land’s current status can be created. This will include an inventory of the resources currently available including soil, plants, animals, structures, equipment, and anything else that might have an impact on your land now or in the future.
Explore Alternative Options
While enrolling marginal land in a conservation practice will almost certainly improve its overall health, it’s still a major commitment that will impact your overall crop production strategy. It’s important to understand what alternative options are available that may accomplish similar goals with less disruption.
These alternative options may still fall under CRP, consisting of other CPs you could enroll in, how much land is enrolled, what will be planted, etc.
Make a Decision and Implement a Plan
Based on all the information gathered and the options that have been presented, it’s time to make a choice based on what option will provide the best outcome for your land, as well as the surrounding environment. With the decision made, a Conservation Plan of Operations (CPO) will be made.
This is a record of the conservation decisions that have been decided upon. It contains information such as the CP chosen, a schedule of operation, a map, boundaries, and more. If you’ll be haying or grazing your CRP land, that will be included in your CPO as well.
Once the CPO and CRP-1 have been reviewed and signed off on, CRP establishment can begin.
What Happens Next?
Based off your CP, one of the first things you’ll need to do is purchase CRP seed. That’s where we can help. All Native Seed provides a variety of high-quality seed mixes to meet the requirements of your conservation plan. Whether you choose one of our in-house mixes, or you need a quote for a plan developed by NRCS, you can expect a quality product with high purity and germination rates.
Additionally, all of our seed has been tested for noxious weeds such as Palmer amaranth.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-224-2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in need of more hands-on assistance, our parent company FDCE provides full-service CRP solutions. Not only do they take care of buying CRP seed, but they handle the planting, herbicide application, documentation, and report submission for cost share reimbursement.