New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service finds the Conservation Reserve Program is regionally concentrated. The Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, covered 22 million acres of environmentally sensitive land at the end of fiscal year 2022, with an annual budget of roughly $1.8 billion. This made CRP the USDA’s largest single conservation program in terms of spending in FY 2022.
Enrollees receive annual and other payments for taking eligible land out of production for at least ten years. Program acreage tends to be concentrated on marginally productive cropland that is susceptible to erosion by wind or rainfall. A large share of CRP land ranges from Texas to Montana across the Great Plains, where rainfall is limited, and much of the land is subject to potentially severe wind erosion.
Smaller concentrations of CRP land are found in eastern Washington, southern Iowa, northern Missouri, the Mississippi Delta, southeastern Idaho, and northwestern Utah.