Farmer participation in conservation programs

  • Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Excerpted from the Environmental Impact of Missouri Crop Production report

  • Missouri farmers extensively use USDA and Soil and Water Conservation Programs to improve crop production and environmental amenities.

Missouri farmers, agricultural organizations and government entities voluntarily cooperate with several USDA conservation programs to improve water quality and wildlife habitat and maintain agricultural production. Since 2014, the USDA has contributed more than $35 million to advance 10 projects involving 114 partners. One project targets soil health, two projects target water quantity and drought, three address water quality and four foster wildlife habitat.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has played an important role in transitioning marginal land from crop production to conservation. The CRP area under contract in the U.S. was 23.4 million acres in 2017, down from the maximum of 36.8 million acres in 2007. As of July 2017, Missouri had a total of 29,344 contracts on 17,447 farms that covered 976,252 acres. The map below shows where the CRP acres are located in Missouri.

Acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) per county in Missouri, 2016

Acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) per county in Missouri, 2016
Total of 990,321 acres in CRP for Missouri in 2016.
Source: USDA Farm Service Agency (2017)

Sixty-two percent of Missouri land enrolled in CRP is highly erodible land with an erodibility index greater than 20. The USDA uses various CRP conservation practices to obtain objectives that benefit the environment and wildlife. The chart below shows the number of acres in general categories of CRP conservation practices.

CRP acres by general conservation practice, 2017
Source: Conservation Reserve Program, Monthly Summary — July 2017
Notes: Grass contains practices CP1, CP2, CP6, CP8, CP10, CP15, CP21, CP28, CP87 and CP88;
Trees contains practices CP3, CP5, CP11, CP16, CP22, and CP32, Wetland contains practices CP23, 30 and 40;
Wildlife contains practices CP4, CP9, CP12, CP25, CP29 and CP38; Pollinator is practice CP42

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