Conservation Reserve Program

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(CRP): A program, created in the Food Security Act of 1985, to retire from production up to 45 million acres of highly erodible and environmentally sensitive farmland. Landowners who sign contracts agree to keep retired lands in approved conserving uses for 10-15 years. In exchange, the landowner receives an annual rental payment, cost-share payments to establish permanent vegetative cover and technical assistance. The CRP reportedly has reduced erosion by up to 700 million tons per year. The FAIR Act of 1996 extends authorization to enroll land through 2002 and caps maximum CRP acreage at 36.4 million acres, its 1995 level. The Act also makes the program spending mandatory and finances it through the Commodity Credit Corporation.

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