How CRP Improves Soil Health

America is running out of soil.  

Currently, the US loses topsoil 10x faster than it’s being replenished. Without healthy topsoil, the crops and materials we depend on can’t grow. Unfortunately, we can’t wait for topsoil to simply replenish itself. It takes roughly 500 years for a single inch of topsoil to be created naturally. At the rate we’re going, we could run out of topsoil in as little as 60 years. 

Our only real option is to protect the soil we still have. The Conservation Reserve Program can help with this.  

Through CRP, farmers take marginal land out of active crop production and establish native vegetation. Unlike normal farm crops which leave soil exposed to wind and rain, native grasses and forbs provide cover and protection from the elements. Since launching in 1985, CRP has prevented over 9 billion tons of soil from eroding. 

CRP also helps nourish and restore soil health. Planting the same crops year after year drains soil of its nutrients. While crop rotation can help combat this, it also involves a lot of additional work and planning. With CRP, you simply need to establish the initial vegetation, and then you essentially leave it alone. Because CRP vegetation is perennial and suited for the location it is planted, it’s biologically engineered to live in harmony with local soil. 

CRP also cuts down on excess tillage and synthetic fertilizer use, further protecting and rejuvenating your soil.  

Improving Your Soil Through CRP 

If you have marginal land, CRP provides the perfect opportunity to restore its health while still earning a profit, especially now. The USDA recently expanded payment rates and incentives for a number of practices under CRP. Enrollment for both general CRP and continuous CRP is currently open.  

While all CRP is beneficial to soil, some practices are better geared towards protecting and restoring soil health. For example, establishing native grass and forb seed can significantly reduce erosion and rebuild soil structure.  

Not sure where to begin? Our parent company can help. 

FDCE provides full-service CRP solutions that make it easy to enroll in and establish CRP. With FDCE, you won’t have to worry about seed purchasing, special equipment acquisitions, planting, herbicide application, or documentation. FDCE handles it all for you. They even submit the necessary paperwork to FSA for cost-share reimbursement. 

To learn more about what FDCE can do for you, visit their website here. 

If you prefer to establish and manage CRP yourself, All Native Seed can provide you with the seed you need to get started. Our CRP seed mixes have been reprocessed for enhanced purity and tested for harmful weeds such as Palmer amaranth. This results in better germination and unmatched establishment rates. 

Click here to get started with our custom seed mixes. If you already have a seed plan created by NRCS, click here to get a quote