About this Dashboard
This data dashboard summarizes data from the USDA FSA conservation reserve program (CRP) for every eligible county in the United States since the program’s inception in 1986 (data for years 1987-2022). The data in this dashboard shows state and county averages in addition to yearly enrollment and rent totals.
About the Data
The data in this dashboard was retrieved from publicly available information published by the Farm Service Agency of the USDA, the conservation reserve program, and the grassland conservation reserve program. The USDA has determined average rental rates per acre by dividing the total rent paid in a specific year by the total number of acres enrolled in the county. Total acres enrolled per county and total rent paid per county are unavailable for 2019 to 2022 as this has yet to be made public by the USDA. This dashboard presents data for counties instead of reservations (like our other dashboards) because reservations can consist of multiple counties with varying levels of eligible acres and rental rates.
Why is this Data and Dashboard Important?
The conservation reserve program incentivizes landowners to maintain and/or return the land to its natural state, primarily in what the USDA deems as ecologically important areas. It provides management information, subsidies for ecological rehabilitation and restoration, and income to landowners on a rent-per-acre basis for CRP-enrolled lands. CRP enrollments last 10-15 years, during which the enrolled acres must be managed and maintained as natural areas- it is important to note that these lands can be used for hunting, fishing, gathering, and recreation activities while enrolled in CRP as long as they are maintained as natural areas. After those 10-15 years, the landowner can either take the land out of the program or re-enroll at the current rental rates. Until recently, reservation lands were not eligible for enrollment in the conservation reserve program- despite tribal lands holding some of the greatest amounts of intact habitat and biodiversity. Now that tribal lands are eligible, it is important for tribal landowners to know their lands’ worth and to be presented with all possible land-use and income options. Due to the historical context and nature of reservations, many of these lands could be poor for use as croplands and are instead used primarily for livestock grazing or as natural areas. In making CRP data available, tribal landowners are provided with the information necessary to make well-informed decisions for their lands. This dashboard also provides historical data on average rates per acre, acres enrolled, and total rent paid per county or across a state, providing landowners with historical trends and viability for CRP in their county.
The data presented in this dashboard is important because it provides an alternative method of income to row cropping for tribal landowners and provides a level of transparency for possible income and county participation in the program. It can also help alleviate financial pressures to rely on agriculture by making money off the land without converting natural areas to croplands. Land conservation and cropland restoration are increasingly important factors in climate change mitigation and resilience efforts. Creating financial incentives for land conservation efforts is a way to make the system work for everyone involved.
For more information on the different types of CRP and enrollment options, please visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/conservation-reserve-program/.
Some counties are not eligible for CRP enrollment every year. Additionally, there may be limitations to the CRP types available for landowners to enroll in depending on the county of residence. Because of this, data may not be available for certain counties for given years or CRP types. Some data for recent years have yet to be made available by the USDA.