Conservation Reserve Program Law and Legal Definition

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a cost share and rental program initiative undertaken by the U.S. federal government. The CRP encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive estate to vegetative cover, such as tame or native grasses, wildlife plantings or trees. Through CRP, agricultural landowners can receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.

In order to enroll land in the CRP, a landowner must enter into a contract with Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The CRP contract comprises of:

1. terms and conditions for participation in the CRP;

2. the CRP conservation plan; and;

3. any other materials or agreements determined necessary by CCC.

According to 7 CFR 1410.3, CRP facilitates agricultural landowners to convert eligible land to a conserving use during the contract period in return for financial and technical assistance. An agricultural landowner must obtain and adhere to a conservation plan prepared in accordance with CRP guidelines.

The objectives of the CRP are to cost-effectively reduce water and wind erosion, protect the nation's long-term capability to produce food and fiber, reduce sedimentation, improve water quality, create and enhance wildlife habitat, and other objectives including, as appropriate, addressing issues raised by state, regional, and national conservation initiatives and encouraging more permanent conservation practices, such as, but not limited to, tree planting.