Conservation Reserve Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To protect the Nation's long-term capability to produce food and fiber; to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water quality, and create a better habitat for wildlife.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Eligible owners or operators may place highly erodible or other environmentally sensitive land into a 10-15 year contract. The participant, in return for annual payments, agrees to implement a conservation plan approved by the local conservation district for converting highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive land to a long-term resource conserving cover i.e., eligible land must be planted with a vegetative cover, such as, perennial grasses, legumes, fobs, shrubs, or trees. The participant agrees to reduce the aggregate total of allotments and quotas by an amount based on the ratio of the total cropland acreage on each farm, to the total acreage on each farm subject to the CRP contract. Financial and technical assistance are available to participants to assist in the establishment of a long- term resource conserving cover.

Who is eligible to apply...

An individual, partnership, association, Indian Tribal ventures corporation, estate, trust, other business enterprises or other legal entities and, whenever applicable, a State, a political subdivision of a State, or any agency thereof may submit an offer to enroll acreage.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:
Credentials/Documentation

The land must be owned or operated for not less than 12 months prior to the close of the signup period, unless the land was acquired by will or succession or FSA determines that ownership was not acquired for the purpose of placing the land in the CRP. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

FSA has three methods for enrolling acreage in the CRP. One method is a continuous signup process where acreage suitable for certain environmental priority practices, including but not limited to grass waterways, riparian buffers or filterstrips, and acreage within wellhead protection areas may be offered and accepted without going through a competitive offer process. The second method is similar to continuous signup and is available only in distinct geographic areas. These areas are targeted by FSA and State governments under partnership agreements. The third method is to offer acreage during a general signup period where eligible offers to enroll highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive acreage are submitted and ranked competitively based on an environmental benefits index. Regardless of the method of enrollment, the local FSA office that serves the area in which the farm or ranch is located will provide the maximum payment rate CCC will accept to enroll certain acreage in the program. Producers may submit a rental rate per acre offered that may be equal to or less than CCC's maximum payment rate. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-110.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

FSA will notify persons whose offers are determined acceptable as soon as practicable after the close of the signup.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...

Deadlines

The offer must be filed at the county FSA office by the end of the announced signup period.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 7 to 120 days.

Preapplication Coordination

An environmental impact assessment has been prepared for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.

Appeals

Producers may appeal any determination to county FSA committee, State committee, or National Appeals Division. Matters that are generally applicable to all producers are not appealable.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Renewals

Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

If their offer is accepted for enrollment, an individual, partnership, association, Indian Tribal ventures, corporation, estate, trust, other business enterprises or other legal entities and, whenever applicable, a State, political subdivision of State, or any agency thereof may earn benefits.

Beneficiaries
About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Direct Payments for Specified Use

Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the Federal government.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$50 to $50,000. Average: $4,000.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.

Obligations

(Grants) FY 03 $1,806,264,000; FY 04 $1,882,592,490; and FY 05 est $1,951,522,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

12-3319-0-1-302; 12-4336-0-1-302.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

Currently, approximately 33.5 million acres are enrolled in the CRP. Each contract covers an average of 74 acres with an average rental rate of $45.95 per acre. This is based on the latest actual data.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

County FSA offices will provide producers the maximum acceptable rental rate for the acreage offered. All offers submitted under a general signup will be screened at both the local and national level to determine the suitability of the acreage and acceptability of the rental rate offered. In addition, offers will be evaluated in terms of cost for the environmental benefits obtained. Acres accepted will be limited to the Secretary's authority to maintain 36.4 million acres or less as determined by the Secretary.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Annual rental payments in cash or generic commodity certificates will be made for 10-15 years. If cost-share assistance to establish the appropriate cover was requested, a payment will be made after the practice is successfully established according to applicable guidelines. FSA may provide certain incentives for restoring wetlands or other lands.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Note:
A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...

Reports

None.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.

Audits

Recipients are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).

Records

Maintained in county FSA office and Federal Record centers for a specified number of years.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.

Regulations...

Authorization

Food Security Act of 1985, Title XII, Public Law 99-198, as amended; Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624; Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

Program is announced through news media and in letters to agricultural producers in the county. Regulations published in the Federal Register, 7 CFR part 1410.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Consult the local telephone directory for location of the county FSA office, under U.S. Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. If no listing, contact the appropriate State FSA office listed in the FSA section of Additional Contact Information - FMR Help.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

USDA/FSA/CEPD, Stop 0513, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0513. Telephone: (202) 720-6221.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: