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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Conservation > Programs > Conservation Reserve Program - Continuous Signup (CCRP)

Conservation Programs


Conservation Reserve Program - Continuous Signup (CCRP)

Program Overview

Program Sponsor & Contacts

How current is the information on this page?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What funding is offered by this program?
  2. When and where is this program offered?
  3. Who is eligible?
  4. What lands are eligible?
  5. What conservation practices or activities are funded?
  6. How many acres can I enroll?
  7. How long does the contract or easement last?
  8. How do I apply for funding?
  9. How can I maximize my chances of getting funded?
  10. Once enrolled, what land uses or land management activities are required or restricted?
  11. How much land is currently enrolled in Minnesota?
  12. Is there a limit to the number of acres that can be enrolled in Minnesota, or in any one county or watershed?

More Information about this Program


Program Overview

The Conservation Reserve Program – Continuous Signup (CCRP), begun in 1996, is an offshoot of the Conservation Reserve Program – General Signup (CRP General Signup. CCRP is a nationwide, voluntary program designed to help farmers restore and protect environmentally sensitive land—particularly wetlands, wildlife habitat and water quality buffers. Participants set aside cropland (and/or marginal pastureland in certain circumstances) for 10-15 years and plant long-term resource-conserving covers that reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and/or enhance wildlife habitat. In return, they receive annual land rental payments, cost-share assistance to establish and maintain the vegetation and—for certain practices—additional one-time special incentive payments.

CCRP differs from the CRP General Signup in several ways:

  • It establishes conservation buffers and restores certain types of wetlands, rather than setting aside entire fields. (See FAQ 5, below, for a complete list of CCRP conservation practice options.)
  • One-time special incentive payments are offered for certain practices, often resulting in a higher per-acre payment than for the CRP General Signup.
  • The application process is noncompetitive, meaning all eligible applications are accepted (up to and within nationwide program funding and acreage limits).
  • Enrollment is open continuously throughout the year, so interested landowners may apply at any time.
  • The total acreage enrolled is much less than the CRP General Signup because many of CCRP practices are conservation buffers with narrow, linear footprints or relatively small farmable wetland restorations, in contrast to the larger whole-field parcels (or sometimes entire farms) typical of the CRP General Signup.

CCRP and CREP: CCRP is closely associated with the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) [add internal link to pi_crep_v1].—another offshoot of the CRP General Signup that developed a few years after the CRP Continuous Signup was launched. The agency that administers both programs at the federal level (USDA Farm Service Agency) treats CREP as part of CCRP for administrative purposes. (For example, in the agency’s monthly and annual CRP Contract Summary and Statistics, data on CREP contracts is often lumped with data for CCRP as a whole.) This website treats CCRP and CREP separately, however, as their payment rates and other features differ significantly.

Special Initiatives Associated with CCRP: CCRP includes several initiatives introduced to meet special needs or opportunities identified by program constituents. The special initiatives introduced to date are described below, including links for more information. See FAQ 12 for information about practice-specific acreage limitations that apply to these initiatives.

  • Farmable Wetlands Program Begun in 1998 as a 6-state pilot that included Minnesota, this initiative allows producers to enroll small, non-floodplain wetlands in two CCRP practices: CP27 Farmable Wetlands and CP28 Farmable Wetland Buffers. For more information about these practices see the links provided in FAQ 5 below.
  • Floodplain Wetland Restoration Initiative: Prior to 2003, the only option within CRP for restoring wetlands within the 100-year floodplain was to apply and be accepted into the competitive CRP General Signup. In 2003, however, USDA converted Conservation Practice (CP) 23 Wetland Restoration from a General Signup to a Continuous Signup (CCRP) practice, and assigned state acreage caps.
  • Non-Floodplain Wetland Restoration Initiative (PDF) Prior to this initiative, which began in 2004, only floodplain wetlands or small, farmable wetlands could be restored through CRP. This initiative allows larger wetlands to be enrolled as CCRP Conservation Practice (CP) 23a Non-Floodplain Wetlands.
  • Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative (PDF)Begun in 2006, this initiative is limited to states in the Prairie Pothole region (including Minnesota). It applies special provisions to CCRP Conservation Practice (CP) 23a Non-Floodplain Wetlands.
  • Bottomland Timber Initiative (PDF) This initiative allows landowners to grow bottomland (wetland) hardwood trees or adapted shrubs to provide multipurpose forest and wildlife benefits.
  • Northern Bobwhite Quail Initiative (PDF) – 500 acres are allocated to Minnesota for this initiative.
  • Longleaf Pine Initiative This initiative is not available in Minnesota.
  • State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) This initiative began in 2007, with an allocation of 23,100 acres for Minnesota. It enables states to apply special provisions to target existing CCRP and CRP conservation practices to address state-specific wildlife habitat priorities. As of June 2007, a Minnesota SAFE proposal process (PDF) was under way.

Program Sponsor & Contacts

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), a federal agency, administers CCRP through its state and local offices, with assistance from other agencies.

  • Contact your local FSA office to inquire about enrolling land in the CCRP (or any CRP program) or if you have questions regarding an existing contract.
  • Contact the FSA Minnesota office if you have questions about how CRP programs work in Minnesota, including CCRP.
  • See FSA’s national CRP webpage for general information and updates on the latest Continuous Signup (CCRP) or General Signup opportunities and enrollment data. Also see FAQ 11 below.
  • Several partners provide technical support to FSA in administering the CCRP, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other state and local agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations such as Pheasants Forever.

How current is the information on this page?

The information on this web page is current as of June 2007. It is MDA's intention to review and update it if necessary at least every six months.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What funding is offered by this program?

  • Individual Contract Payments: CCRP contract payments include annual rental payments, a one-time cost share payment to establish the conservation practice, one-time special incentives for selected practices and. For detailed information on CCRP payment rates see the Conservation Funding Advisor.
  • Total funding in Minnesota: For information on the amount of federal funding historically available for CCRP in Minnesota see Primer on the Conservation Title of the 2002 Farm Bill [add internal link].

2. When and where is this program offered?

  • Where: CCRP is offered in all states, counties and watersheds nationwide. However, certain conservation practice options are limited to designated geographic areas; see FAQ 5 for details.
  • When: Signup periods for CCRP run continuously—hence the word "Continuous" in the program’s name. Producers may apply any time of year. See FAQ 7 below for related information on CCRP contract length and start dates.
  • Past and Future Signup Periods. For administrative and record-keeping purposes, signup periods for CCRP and the CRP General Signup are numbered consecutively. A new, year-long CCRP signup period (assigned a new Signup Number) begins every year on October 1, the start of the federal fiscal year—as long as the program and its funding continue to be authorized by Congress.

3. Who is eligible?

To receive CCRP payments, a person must have owned or operated the enrolled land for at least 12 months prior to the close of the CCRP signup period—except in any of the following circumstances:

  • The current owner acquired the land due to the previous owner's death;
  • The ownership change occurred due to foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right or redemption in accordance with state law; or
  • FSA is able to determine that the current owner did not acquire the land for the purpose of enrolling in CCRP.

4. What lands are eligible?

Under the 2002 Farm Bill, to be eligible for the CCRP land must meet fit one of the following categories:

  • Cropland (including field margins) that was planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity in 4 of the 6 crop years from 1996 to 2001. The land must be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity; or,
  • Marginal pastureland enrolled in the national Water Bank Program (a program that is no longer available); or,
  • Marginal pastureland suitable for use as a riparian buffer or similar water quality purposes.

Additionally, the land must be suitable for a specific CCRP conservation practice option (see FAQ 5 below).

5. What conservation practices or activities are funded?

CCRP offers funding for wetland restoration, many types of conservation buffers and other special-purpose environmental priorities. Below is the current menu of CCRP conservation practice options, which FSA may change or expand at any time.

Wetland Restoration

  • Wetland Restoration - Floodplain Wetlands - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Wetland Restoration - Non-Floodplain Wetlands - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Duck Nesting Habitat (Prairie Pothole region only) - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Wetland Restoration - Farmable Wetlands - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Marginal Pastureland Wetland Buffers
  • Bottomland Wetland Trees - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Shallow Water Areas for Wildlife

Buffers

  • Filter Strip 
  • Riparian Buffer
  • Grass Waterway
  • Field Windbreak
  • Living Snow Fences
  • Shelterbelts
  • Contour Grass Strip
  • Contour Grass Strips on Terrace
  • Cross Wind Trap Strip
  • Marginal Pastureland Wildlife Habitat Buffers

Other Special-Purpose Practices

  • State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) Practices - (See Program Overview for more information about this set of special-purpose practices)
  • Grass/Trees/Habitat in Wellhead Protection Area (US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated public Wellhead Protection Areas)
  • Salinity-Reducing or Salt-Tolerant Vegetation
  • Upland Bird Habitat (Northern Bobwhite Quail)

6. How many acres can I enroll?

  • In general, there is no limit to the number of acres an individual producer may enroll in CCRP contracts. However: (a) All CRP contracts are subject to overall farm bill payment limitations; (b) Certain conservation practices, such as Farmable Wetlands, are subject to limits on the number of acres an individual producer can enroll; and, (c) Certain conservation practices have a state acreage cap; see FAQ 12 below for details.
  • Wetland restoration practices require a certain ratio of wetlands to surrounding uplands. Uplands refers to the upland buffers (typically restored grasslands) designed to protect the restored wetlands. These wetland-to-upland ratio requirements vary from one wetland restoration practice to the next.

7. How long does the contract or easement last?

CCRP participants choose a desired contract length between 10 and 15 years. The contract goes into effect the first day of the month after which it is approved. [If the land is currently under any type of CRP contract and is within one year of expiration, the new CCRP contract will start on October 1 following the current contract’s expiration.] (In some circumstances, producers may defer the start date for up to 6 months.)

8. How do I apply for funding?

9. How can I maximize my chances of getting funded?

  • The CCRP application process is noncompetitive. Therefore, any application from an eligible producer to enroll eligible lands will be accepted as long as applicable acreage limits (see FAQ 12 below) are not exceeded.
  • The key to getting funded is to identify lands suitable for one or more CCRP conservation practices (see FAQ 5) that also meet the program’s basic land eligibility requirements (see FAQ 4).

10. Once enrolled, what land uses or management activities are required or restricted?

  • Mid-Contract Maintenance: Participants are responsible for maintaining CCRP conservation practices for the life of the 10-15 year contract. Maintenance must be done according to technical standards developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For details, see the FSA CRP Handbook (PDF), Part 10 Establishing & Maintaining Practices, Section 238 Maintaining Approved Cover and Section 239 Managing Approved Cover.
  • Haying and Grazing: Haying and grazing are prohibited on all CCRP practices except Grass, Tree, or Habitat Covers or Salinity-Reducing or Salt-Tolerant Vegetation in Wellhead Protection Areas. In certain circumstances, managed or emergency haying or grazing may be allowed on the latter CCRP practices, as long as the activity is conducted outside of state-designated bird nesting and brood-rearing season dates and at reduced rental rates. Additional information and updates are available in an FSA CRP Haying and Grazing fact sheet (PDF) and website devoted to CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing.
  • Other Prohibited or Restricted Uses: The FSA CRP Handbook (PDF), Part 12 Permissive & Restrictive Uses of CRP Acres, addresses whether and under what circumstances land enrolled in CCRP may or may not be used for purposes such as turn rows, shooting preserves, wind turbines, carbon sequestration credits, research projects, and more.

11. How much land is currently enrolled in Minnesota ?

The best source of up-to-date information on the amount and types of land enrolled in all CRP programs in Minnesota, including the CCRP, is FSA’s CRP Contract Summary and Statistics.

Additional breakdowns of enrollment data by county are available in FSA’s Monthly Active CRP Contract Reports. The tables show data compiled by program year (crop year) and by CRP signup number. Each table begins with data for the first CRP signup or program/crop year in which existing acreage was originally enrolled. Therefore, to determine the total acreage currently enrolled (e.g., in a given conservation practice in a given Minnesota county), you must scroll to the end of the table where a heading will indicate "all program years" or "all signups".

12. Is there a limit to the number of acres that can be enrolled in Minnesota , or in any one county or watershed?

Yes, CCRP enrollment in Minnesota is subject to national, county and, for certain practices, practice-specific acreage limitations.

National Acreage Cap: The 2002 Farm Bill allows up to 39.2 million acres to be enrolled nationwide at any one time in farm bill set-aside programs (including CCRP, the CRP General Signup [add internal link to pi_gcrp_v1], the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) [add internal link to pi_crep_v1] and the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) [add internal link to pi_wrp_v1].

National Acreage Quota for CCRP/CREP: Within the national acreage cap described above, up to 2.5 million acres are reserved for CCRP and CREP [add internal link to pi_crep_v1]. Within that amount, there are no limitations on the number of acres that may be enrolled in CCRP in any one state, except for the county and selected practice-specific acreage limitations described below.

County Acreage Limitation: No more than 25% of a county’s cropland acreage may be enrolled in farm bill set-aside programs at any one time. County FSA Committees may appeal the percentage on a case-by-case basis. At least two northwestern Minnesota counties have requested and have been permitted to enroll of more than 25% of their cropland acreage.

Practice-Specific Acreage Allocations: Under the 2002 Farm Bill, enrollment in certain CCRP practices associated with special initiatives is limited by state-specific acreage caps. All of the CCRP special initiatives introduced to date are described above under the Program Overview above. State-specific acreage caps for each initiative were established when the initiatives were first introduced. In February 2007, USDA adjusted these allocations, resulting in reduced allocations for Minnesota. The table below shows Minnesota’s initial and current acreage allocations, which remain in effect until September 30, 2007 when the 2002 Farm Bill expires.

CCRP Special Initiative Practice-Specific Acreage Caps for Minnesota

Special Initiative & Date Introduced

Corresponding CCRP Practice(s)

Initial Allocation (acres)

Allocation as of 6/07
(acres)

Floodplain Wetlands, 1998

CP23 Floodplain Wetland Restoration

17,000*

0

Non-Floodplain Wetlands, 2004

CP23A Non-Floodplain Wetland Restoration

36,000

8,464

Farmable Wetlands, 1998

CP27 Farmable Wetlands,
CP28 Farmable Wetlands Buffer

100,000

40,971

State Acres for Wildlife (SAFE), 2007

CP38 –practice names to be determined

23,100

23,100

Duck Nesting Habitat, 2006

CP37 Duck Nesting Habitat

8,000

8,000

Bottomland Timber, 2004

CP31 Bottomland Timber on Wetlands

17,000

1,000

Northern Bobwhite Quail, 2004

CP 33 Upland Bird Habitat Buffer

500

500

Longleaf Pine, 2006

CP36 Longleaf Pine

0

0

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

See the CREP Program Information Page

* From 1998-2003 this practice was available only through the CRP General Signup and was not subject to a practice-specific acreage cap. At one time, around 300,000 acres were enrolled in this practice in Minnesota under the General Signup. In 2003, the practice was converted to a CRP Continuous Signup (CCRP) practice, and new contracts from then on were subject to the acreage cap.


More Information

MDA Contact

Barbara Weisman, Conservation Program Specialist
barbara.weisman@state.mn.us
651-201-6631 or 1-800-967-2474

Ag Marketing & Development Division