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US Department of Agriculture Programs
Farm Service Agency

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup

This program takes highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive lands out of crop production and establishes a soil-conserving vegetative cover on them under a 10 year or 15 year contract. Landowners are paid an annual payment in October of each year based on the soil rental rate for the three major soils of the field. Eligibility is based on 4 out of 6 year cropping history which is currently 2002 to 2007 and having a high enough ranking score as determined by USDA. Landowners are also provided 50% cost-share for cover establishment and required management. Contact your local Farm Services Agency office regarding eligibility and details. The standard 50% cost-share for cover establishment, annual maintenance and rental payments is limited to a maximum of $50,000.


Periodic signup periods are announced by USDA when applicants can offer whole-field enrollments. Applications are scored and ranked against other applications from across the country. USDA later announces the minimum score that will be accepted for enrollment under contracts.


Practices that benefit Wildlife

CP2 Native Grasses


CP4D Permanent Wildlife Habitat


CP25 Rare and Declining Habitat Restoration

The purpose of this practice is to restore the functions and values of critically endangered, endangered, and threatened habitats. The extent of the restoration is determined by the specifications developed at the State level. In Tennessee this includes prairie restoration and oak savanna restoration.


Conservation Reserve Program Continuous Signup (CCRP)

This portion of the Conservation Reserve Program includes the most environmentally beneficial, small acreage or buffer (strip) practices. Unlike the General Signup, a landowner can apply at any time and if the landowner is eligible, the land being offered meets the criteria for a specific practice, and with some practice the acreage cap has not been met, the offer will be automatically accepted by USDA. Landowners receive an annual payment based on county soil rental rates. They receive 50% cost share. Some practices receive increase soil rental rates, Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) and/or Sign-up Incentive Payments (SIP). SIP is $10/acre/year for 10 years for a total of $100/ acre or $15/acre/year for 10 years for a 15 year contract for a total of $150/acre. PIP is an additional 40% reimbursement of practice installation.



CCRP in Tennessee includes:


CP8A Grass Waterway1,2, 4

The purpose is to convey runoff from terraces, diversions, or other water concentrations without causing erosion or flooding and to improve water quality. When planting native grasses in a Grass Waterway, it can also provide escape cover for wildlife.

  • Contract length 10 years.
  • Maximum width 2 times design standard width not to exceed of 100ft.
  • Planted to cool season grasses or native warm season grasses and wildflowers.

CP9 Shallow Water Areas For Wildlife3,4

The purpose of this practice is to develop or restore shallow water areas to an average depth of 6 to 18 inches for wildlife. The shallow water area must provide a source of water for wildlife for the majority of the year.

  • Contract length 10 years.
  • Maximum size 10 acres including buffer per tract.
  • 20 ft minimum buffer to a maximum of 120ft.
  • Buffer can be planted to cool season grasses or native warm season grasses and wildflowers.
  • Can be on hydric or nonhydric soils. If no hydric soils present must be poorly drained or somewhat poorly drained.

CP15A Contour Grass Strips 3,4

The purpose of this practice is to establish strips of permanent vegetative cover generally following the contour on eligible cropland alternated with wider cultivated strips farmed on the contour that will reduce erosion and control runoff. Although not considered a justification for installing contour grass strips, when planted to native warm season grasses and wildflowers these strips can provide corridors for wildlife and pollinator habitat.

  • Contract length 10 years.
  • Minimum width of 15 ft to maximum of 30ft unless design specification requires larger area.
  • Lowest contour strip maybe a maximum of 60ft.
  • Buffer can be planted to cool season grasses, legumes, or native warm season grasses and wildflowers.
  • Not eligible on terraces.

CP15B Contour Grass Strips on Terraces4

This practice is to establish vegetative cover on terraces to enhance water quality and reduce soil erosion. This practice is only applicable on terraces that are no longer under practice lifespan to ensure that the long-term functions of the terrace are maintained.

  • Contract length 10 years.
  • Terrace life beyond life span of practice.
  • Minimum width 10ft on upper and lower slope with a mximum of 60ft of buffer.
  • Buffer can be planted to cool season grasses, legumes, or native warm season grasses and wildflowers.

CP21 Herbaceous Filter Strips1,2, 4

The purpose of this practice is to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, denitrification, and other processes, and thereby reduce pollution and protect surface water and subsurface water quality while enhancing the ecosystem of the water body.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Cropland must be immediately adjacent to one of the following:
    • perennial, seasonal stream,
    • sinkholes and karst areas,
    • wetlands that are permanently flooded, intermediately with water in all but extreme drought conditions, or seasonally flooded during growing season,
    • other permanent water bodies that provide water cover throughout year in all years and flows from farm.
  • 20 ft to maximum of 120ft of cool season grass or native warm season grass.
  • Buffer can be plant cool season grass or native warm season grasses, legumes and wildflowers.

CP22 Riparian Forest Buffer1,2,4,5

The purposes of this practice are to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, denitrification, and other processes, and thereby reduce pollution and protect surface water and subsurface water quality while enhancing the ecosystem of the water body, to create shade to lower water temperature to improve habitat for aquatic organisms, and to provide a source of detritus and large woody debris for aquatic organisms and habitat for wildlife.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Cropland or marginal pasture must be immediately adjacent to one of the following:
    • Stream having perennial flow and seasonal streams
    • Sinkholes and karst areas
    • Wetlands that are permanently flooded throughout the year, intermittently exposed only during extreme drought, or semipermanent with surface water present during the growing season, or seasonally flooded with surface water present for extended periods of not less than 21 calendar days especially early in growing season.
    • other permanent water bodies that provide water cover throughout year and flow off of the farm.
  • Minimum buffer 35 ft to a maximum of 180ft buffer.
  • The buffer will be planted to a mix of native hardwoods and pines suitable for site conditions.

CP23 Wetlands Restoration1,2,4

The purpose of this practice is to restore the functions and values of wetland ecosystems that have been devoted to agricultural use. The level of restoration of the wetland ecosystem shall be determined by the producer in consultation with NRCS or TSP.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Found within 100 yr flood plain with minimum of 51% hydric soils.
  • Upland buffer shall not exceed a ratio of 3:1.
  • Restoration of wetland hydrology and planting to trees or other native vegetation.
  • Buffer planted typically to native grasses and forbs.

CP23A Wetlands Restoration, Non-floodplain1,2,4

The purpose of this practice is to restore the functions and values of wetland ecosystems that have been devoted to agricultural use. The level of restoration of the wetland ecosystem shall be determined by the producer in consultation with NRCS or TSP.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Located outside of 100 year floodplain and not eligible for CP27 Farmable Wetlands
  • Minimum of 51% hydric soils.
  • Upland buffer shall not exceed a ratio of 4:1.
  • Restoration of wetland hydrology and planting to trees or other native vegetation.
  • Buffer planted typically to native grasses and forbs.

CP27 Farmable Wetlands2

The purpose of this practice is to restore the functions and values of wetlands that have beendevoted to agricultural use. Hydrology and vegetation must be restored to the maximum extent possible, as determined by USDA.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Must have cropping history of being cropped 3 out of last 10 years
  • Maximum wetland size 40 acres.Must be determined by NRCS the cropped or prior converted wetland, or land in a floodplain, that is not identified on the Final National Inventory Map, or 1- to 24,000 scale USGS map in order to be eligible.
  • Must offer associated buffer under CP28 Farmable Wetland Buffer.
  • Restore hydrology and native vegetation of site.

CP28 Farmable Wetland Buffers2

Te purpose of this practice is to provide a vegetative buffer around wetlands (CP27) to remove sediment, nutrients, and pollutants from impacting the wetland and to provide wildlife habitat for the associated wetland

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Minimum width 30 ft maximum 150ft or no more than 3 times eligible wetland area.
  • Must be in association with CP27 Farmable Wetlands.
  • Buffer established to native grass and wildflowers.

CP29 Marginal Pastureland Wildlife Habitat Buffer1,2,,5

The purpose of this practice is to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, denitrification, and other processes, and thereby reduce pollution and protect surface water and subsurface water quality while enhancing the ecosystem of the water body. By restoring native plant communities, characteristics for the site will assist in stabilizing stream banks, reducing flood damage impacts, and restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Minimum width 20 ft maximum 120 ft.
  • Land must be marginal pastureland.
  • Marginal pastureland must be immediately adjacent to one of the following:
    • Stream having perennial flow and seasonal streams.
    • Sinkholes and karst areas.
    • Other permanent water bodies that provide water cover throughout year and flow off of the farm.
  • The buffer is to be planted to native grass and wildflowers, and/or shrubs.

CP30 Marginal Pastureland Wetland Buffer1,2,,5

The purpose of this practice is to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, denitrification, and other processes, and thereby reduce pollution and protect surface water and subsurface water quality while enhancing the ecosystem of the water body. The practice will enhance and/or restore hydrology and plant communities associated with existing or degraded wetland complexes. The goal is to enhance water quality, reduce nutrient and pollutant levels, and improve wildlife habitat.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Minimum width 20 ft maximum 120 ft.
  • Land must be marginal pastureland.
  • Marginal pastureland must be immediately adjacent to one of the following:
    • Stream having perennial flow and seasonal streams.
    • Sinkholes and karst areas.
    • Wetlands that are permanently flooded throughout the year, intermittently exposed only during extreme drought, or semipermanent with surface water present during the growing season, or seasonally flooded with surface water present for extended periods of not less than 21 calendar days especially early in growing season.
    • Other permanent water bodies that provide water cover throughout year and flow off of the farm.
  • The buffer is to be planted to trees, native grass and wildflowers, and/or shrubs.
  • Wetland hydrology restoration cost-share authorized.

CP31 Bottomland Hardwood Restoration1,2,4

The purpose of this practice is to establish and provide for the long-term viability of a bottomland hardwood stand of trees that will: control sheet, rill, scour, and other erosion; reduce water, air, or land pollution; restore and enhance the natural and beneficial functions of wetlands; promote carbon sequestration; restore and connect wildlife habitat.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Buffer must be within 100 year floodplain of stream or river with permanent flow.
  • Area must be planted to native hardwood tree species.
  • Tree thinning cost-share authorized.

CP33 Habitat Buffers For Upland Birds2,4

The purpose of this practice is to provide food and cover for quail and upland birds in cropland areas. Secondary benefits may include reducing soil erosion from wind and water, increasing soil and water quality, protecting and enhancing the on-farm ecosystem. Apply this practice around the field edges of eligible cropland that is suitably located and adaptable to the establishment of wildlife habitat for primarily quail and upland bird species.

  • Contract length 10 years.
  • Minimum width 30 ft to a maximum width of 120 ft.
  • Whole fields and fields less than 5 acres shall not be enrolled.
  • Area will be planted to native grass, wildflowers, legumes or allowed to naturally vegetate.
  • Limited shrubs may be planted as part of the vegetative cover.

CP38B SAFE Wetlands For Wildlife - Shallow Water Areas2,4

The purpose of this practice is to develop or restore shallow water areas to an average depth of 6 to 18 inches for wildlife. The shallow water area must provide a source of water for wildlife for the majority of the year. This practice is a modification of CP-9


  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Multiple shallow water areas may be constructed adjacent to each other or to existing permanent water bodies (within the 10 acre, 1 contract program limit).
    All installed water control structures that provide drainage capabilities shall be closed at a minimum between October 1 and April 1 annually.
  • Water control structures shall be installed in a manner that insures at least 20% of the impoundment area is not drainable.
  • No more than 50% of the impoundment area may be disked and/or planted to an annual crop for wildlife in any given year. The same area shall not be disked or planted more frequently than once every two years.
  • Levee and dike areas will be sown down according to NRCS engineering and/or critical area specifications.

CP38B SAFE Wetlands For Wildlife - Wetland Restoration2,4

This is a modified CP23 Wetlands Restoration.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Eligible restorable wetlands must consist of restorable hydric soil areas within the 100 year floodplain.
  • An upland buffer, not to exceed four (4) times the eligible area, will be established to protect the functions and values of the restored area.
  • The actual buffer width will be the minimum required to provide water quality (sedimentation) protection and wildlife benefits.
  • Restoration of wetland hydrology and planting to trees or other native vegetation.
  • Buffer planted to native grasses and forbs.

CP38B SAFE Wetlands For Wildlife - Wetland Restoration, Nonfloodplain2,4

This is modified CP23A Wetland Restoration, Nonfloodplain.

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Eligible restorable wetlands (prior converted croplands or farmed wetlands) will be based on a certified wetland determination.
  • The offer must consist of restorable hydric soil areas larger than 10 acres in size.
  • An upland buffer, not to exceed four (4) times the eligible area, will be established to protect the functions and values of the restored area.
    The actual buffer width will be the minimum required to provide water quality (sedimentation) protection and wildlife benefits, not to exceed an average width of 120 feet.
  • Restoration of wetland hydrology and planting to trees or other native vegetation.
  • Buffer planted to native grasses and forbs.

CP38C SAFE Bottomland Hardwoods2,4

This is slightly modified CP31 Bottomland Hardwood Establishment.

  • Contract length 15 years.
  • Buffer must be within 100 year floodplain of stream or river with permanent flow.
  • Area must be planted to native hardwood tree species.

CP38E SAFE Bobwhite Habitat Restoration2,4

This is a modified CP4D Permanent Wildlife Habitat (Noneasement)

  • Contract length 10 or 15 years.
  • Area planted to native grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs
  • Minimum of 2.5% shrubs to a maximum of 30%.
  • Whole field or partial field enrollment.
  • Minimum corridor width 120ft to a maximum of 200 ft.

1 = 20% higher annual payment

2= Receive SIP and PIP

3= PIP payment only

4 = requires cropping history 4 of 6 years currently 2002-2007

5 = marginal pasture eligible must contain permanent grass cover to qua



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Use the planning calendar below for tips on enhancing your land throughout the year. Click any of the selections below for more details.






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