The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA)
oversees a number of voluntary conservation-related programs. These programs work to address a large number of farming and ranching related conservation issues including:
- Drinking water protection
- Wildlife habitat preservation
- Preservation and restoration of forests and wetlands
- Aiding farmers whose farms are damaged by natural disasters
FSA accomplishes these goals through the conservation programs listed below.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays a yearly rental payment in exchange for farmers removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental quality.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), an offshoot of CRP, targets high-priority conservation issues identified by government and non-governmental organizations. Farm land that falls under these conservation issues is removed from production in exchange for annual rental payments.
The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to restore farmland damaged by natural disasters and for emergency water conservation measures in severe droughts.
The Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), which is very similar to the ECP, provides funding to restore privately owned forests damaged by natural disasters.
The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) is designed to restore wetlands and wetland buffer zones that are farmed. FWP gives farmers and ranchers annual rental payments in return for restoring wetlands and establishing plant cover.
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) works to prevent grazing and pasture land from being converted into cropland or used for urban development. In return for voluntarily limiting the future development of their land, farmers receive a rental payment.
The Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) is designed to protect surface and ground water used as drinking water by rural residents. The program targets states based on their water quality and population.
The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) encourages farm owners to make their land available for public recreation.
For a list of FAQs, visit Ask FSA