Conservation programs provided by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) enable farmers and landowners to receive cost-share when installing practices to help protect the environment.
In the 2014 Farm Bill, the Conservation Title experienced a consolidation of programs, enforcement of conservation compliance, and changes in the acreage cap for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The number of conservation programs were streamlined from 23 to 13, with key program areas being Environmental Quality Incentives; CRP; Conservation Stewardship; Agricultural Conservation Easement; Regional Conservation Partnership; and the Healthy Forests Reserve.
To participate in USDA conservation programs and receive crop insurance subsidies, producers must abide with conservation compliance. The local Farm Service Agency office must have an AD-1026 Form on file from the producer.
The Farm Service Agency’s CRP received a national reduction of the acreage cap from 32 million acres to 24 million acres.
As planning is underway for the 2018 Farm Bill, CRP acreage is receiving attention again with evaluation of a proper acreage cap. Additionally, registration requirements for producers to participate in conservation programs continue to be complicated. The need for entities to register in the System for Award Management (SAM) and have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNs) number requires extra work for producers.
AFBF: #235 Conservation Reserve Program, #237 National Conservation and Environmental Policy
Cutting red tape in conservation programs
Should conservation programs be prioritized?