Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CRS Report Released: Agricultural Conservation: A Guide to Programs

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, recently issued the report Agricultural Conservation: A Guide to Programs (Feb. 5, 2013). The 30-page report authored by Megan Stubbs discusses the following:


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently administer over 20 programs and subprograms that are directly or indirectly available to assist producers and landowners who wish to practice conservation on agricultural lands. The number, scope, and overall funding of these programs has grown in recent years. This growth can cause some confusion over which problems and conditions each program addresses, and specific program characteristics and performance. The programs are as follows:

Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program

Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)

Conservation Operations (CO); Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA)

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

CRP—Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

CRP—Farmable Wetlands Program

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP—Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)

EQIP—Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Farmland Protection Program (FPP)

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP)

Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations

Watershed Rehabilitation Program

Wetland Reserve Program (WRP)

Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)

This tabular presentation provides basic information introducing each of the programs. In each case, a brief program description is followed by information on major amendments in the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246); national scope and availability; states with the greatest participation; the backlog of applications or other measures of continuing interest; program funding authority; FY2012 funding; FY2013 Administration budget request; FY2013 funding where available; statutory authority; the authorization expiration date; and a link to the program’s website.

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