USDA Federal Programs

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 
Funded from the Federal Commodity Credit Corporation to enroll erodible and other environmentally sensitive land in contracts for 10-15 years. In exchange, landowners and/or operators receive annual rental payments and a payment for up to 50% of the cost of establishing approved practices. Maximum CRP payments will be determined based on county average dryland cash or cash rent equivalent rental rates adjusted for site-specific, soil based productivity factors. CRP payments can include an additional amount, not to exceed $4 per acre per year, as an incentive to perform certain maintenance obligations. This program is administered through the (county) Farm Service Agency Office.

The Conservation Reserve Program reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as tame or native grass, wildfire plantings trees, filter strips or riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multi-year contract.

Sign-up dates are announced throughout the year. Contact the Riley County NRCS Office for latest information 785-776-8595. 

Conservation Technical Assistance
Purpose-To assist land-users, communities, units of state and local government and other Federal agencies in planning and implementing conservation systems. The purpose of the conservation systems are to reduce erosion, improve soil and water quality, improve and conserve wetlands, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve air quality, improve pasture and range condition, reduce upstream flooding and improve woodlands.

Objectives of the program are to:

  • Assist individual landusers, communities, conservation districts and other units of State and local government and Federal agencies to meet their goals for resource stewardship and assist individuals to comply with State and local requirements. NRCS assistance to individuals is provided through conservation districts in accordance with memorandum or understanding signed by the Secretary of Agriculture, the governor of the state and the conservation district. Assistance is provided to land users voluntarily applying conservation and to those who must comply with local or State laws and regulations.
  • Assist agricultural producers to comply with the highly erodible land (HEL) and wetland (Swampbuster) provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act as amended by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 3801 et. seq.) and the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 and wetlands requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. NRCS makes HEL and wetland determinations and helps land users develop and implement conservation plans to comply with the law.
  • Provide technical assistance to participants in USDA cost-share and conservation incentive programs. (Assistance is funded on a reimbursable basis from the CCC.)
  • Collect, analyze, interpret, display and disseminate information about the condition and trends of the Nation's soil and other natural resources so that people can make good decisions about resource use and about public policies for resource conservation.
  • Develop effective science-based technologies for natural resource assessment, management and conservation.

Contact the Riley County USDA Farm Service Center-NRCS Office 785-776-8595. 

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) 
Funded from the Federal Commodity Credit Corporation to encourage environmental enhancement. EQIP provides technical assistance, cost-share payments, incentive payments and education to producers who enter 5-10 year contracts based on conservation plans. Some of the practices available are: Rangeland Brush Control, Prescribed Burning, Cross Fencing, Ponds, Windbreaks and other rangeland practices. Practices such as no-till cropping systems and nutrient and pest management are also available for water quality concerns. This program is administered by the Form Service Agency with NRCS providing technical assistance.

EQIP sign-up periods are announced throughout the year. Contact the Riley County NRCS Office for more information 785-776-8595. 


Federal Easement Programs
Several federal easement programs are available to protect and enhance grassland and prime farmlands. The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) are designed to curb development on agricultural lands with 30-year or permanent easements. 

NRCS Technical Assistance
USDA NRCS Technical Assistance to land users to solve natural resource problems in rural, suburban and urban settings. There is no charge for NRCS Technical Assistance. Technical assistance includes agricultural conservation planning, watershed-based assistance, flood control programs, conservation engineering assistance for conservation structures, etc.