The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which has protected the nation’s natural resources since 1985, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
CRP was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan – who’s centennial is being celebrated this year – as part of the 1985 Farm Bill that was reported to be one of the most massive agricultural reform bills in the nation’s history. It was touted by then Agriculture Secretary John Block as the “agricultural recovery program to put this industry back in the business of prosperity in the years to come.”
A portion of that prosperity came in section 1231 of the bill, which gave birth to the Conservation Reserve Program. CRP allowed USDA to enter into contracts with owners and operators of highly erodible cropland and assist them in conserving and improving soil and water resources on their farms and ranches.
In March 1986, the first CRP contract was signed, igniting a movement that has helped reduce soil erosion by 622 million tons, provided natural habitats for wildlife, restored more than 2 million acres of wetlands and removed millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air.
“Although it was designed to address soil erosion, CRP has become one of the standouts in the USDA arsenal of conservation programs by continuing to provide significant economic and environmental benefits beyond its original intent,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
To learn more about the USDA and other Federal Agencies during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, please visit the National Archives Website. The website also features a host of information in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Reagan.