The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), has several programs that can assist the stakeholders. These programs intend to prevent erosion, improve water quality, improve water supplies, and reduce damages for natural hazards among the most important services. The final goal is to sustain the agricultural activity, through natural processes that also allows the enhancement of the environment.
In the following paragraphs you will find a brief explanation of the most important programs that support the agricultural activities:
- Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): This program assists agricultural landowners by providing annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to eligible farms for preventing and/or controlling soil erosion, sedimentation and controlling surface runoff.
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): This program assists landowners with planning, implementation and maintenance of conservation practices to improve the overall diversity in wildlife, soil quality, and water quality in farms.
- Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP): This program assists landowners who converted their private wetlands to agricultural areas prior to 1985.Wetland must be restorable and suitable for wildlife benefits.
- Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP): This is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wild life habitat. This program assists landowners with private land, unless the land is currently enrolled in CRP, WRP or a similar program.
- Grassland Reserve Program (GRP): This voluntary program helps protect valuable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses, and helps ensure that grasslands are available to future generations. Private grasslands, shrublands, and lands containing forbs, or lands that historically contained those features are eligible.
- Conservation Security Program (CSP): This program encourages agricultural producers to improve conservation systems by improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities and undertaking additional conservation activities.
For more information on which conservation practices are supported by USDA-NRCS, please visit: NRCS. The agency provides detail information on applications, eligibility, and payments for the different conservation practices and programs supported by the USDA.