The Department of Agriculture is issuing $1.68 billion in payments to agricultural producers and landowners for the 21.9 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Announced Thursday, the payments provide annual rental payment for land devoted to conservation purposes. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says, “CRP is one of the many ‘tools’ that USDA offers to producers and private landowners to help best manage sensitive lands.” Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to the nation’s environment and economy. Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Meanwhile, CRP participants with contracts effective beginning on October 1, 2020, will receive their first annual rental payment in October 2021.