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Program Assessment


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Conservation Reserve Program

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) safeguards natural resources by paying farmers to take environmentally sensitive cropland out of production and plant long-term resource-conserving covers (such as grasses and trees). These covers improve the quality of water and air, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • The program has good goals and targets. It uses an Environmental Benefits Index to rank producers' applications according to estimated environmental and cost performance. Farm Service Agency designates both national- and state-level conservation priority areas. (USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the program.)
  • Farm Service Agency collects performance information on all CRP contracts, including the conservation practices installed, acreage enrolled, location of land relative to national and state priority areas, and other characteristics of the land. FSA is working to build on the contract file and collect new Geographical Information System data on all CRP contracts which will assist modeling efforts.
  • In some cases the agency is not using the data to effectively manage the program. Deficiencies exist in the Farm Service Agency's technical assistance accountability system, and FSA has made slow progress in utilizing the private sector. Also, FSA does not conduct regular independent program evaluations.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Improving FSA's technical assistance accountability systems.
  • Performing independent program evaluations to identify recommendations for improving performance and efficiency.
  • Collecting performance data and using it to improve the field-level oversight of CRP contracts.

Learn More

The content on is developed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Federal agencies.