How CRP and WRP Programs Restrict Land Use

USDA CRP and WRP Programs

Established in 1985, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers farmers/land owners the opportunity to receive annual payment – almost like rent – for every acre they agree to remove from agricultural production. Lands placed in the program are set aside for between 10 and 15 years to re-establish valuable land cover, improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat

In exchange for the USDA’s money, owners agree to a series of rules governing what they can do with the acreage they put into the programs. These include:

  • Owners can’t build on or make improvements to program-designated acreage
  • They have to maintain it – mow it at least once a year, etc.
  • When the CRP program contract period ends, farmers/land owners need to prepare the land for agricultural production again for re-use
  • If they decide to sell program-designated land at any time, there are special papers and procedures that they need to follow throughout the process
  • If they fail to comply with any of these or other rules, they have to pay back at least some of the money the USDA agreed to pay them

The USDA’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is very similar to the CRP. USDA instead pays owners a one-time fee to convert acreage into a protected wetland. The program’s goal is simple: to protect, restore and enhance wetlands throughout the country. WRP rules are similar, but they can be even more restrictive and continue indefinitely.

These programs are great from an environmental perspective. However, their rules and restrictions can make selling or improving properties in the programs quite difficult. As a result, the overall value of those properties can suffer, or prospective owners might find the land less desirable. These are important factors to carefully consider and plan around. Owners must really decide whether or not to enroll in CRP or WRP. They really have to think what to do with their property after they enroll.

We’re happy to apply our experience and help owners think through all the angles and permutations involved. They can make better decisions for themselves and their property before or during their term with CRP or WRP.

Royal Investment Properties buys raw land and then optimizes its value and usability. We use our significant experience and expertise to solve owners’ real estate challenges and make the selling process effortless. If you’re considering the sale of your property, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss with us or you can also complete this form.

Contact Daniel Earhart and Jay Thomason at 816-439-8156.

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