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CRP is a federal program that pays landowners to take environmentally sensitive land out of production, with the land planted to grass and other vegetation. CRP contracts are for either 10 to 15 years — and the land potentially can be re-enrolled — so the vegetation typically is in place for many years.
That complicates returning the land to crop production. The no-longer-desired vegetative cover needs to be destroyed or removed, which requires both time and money. Weeds or insects or both can pose special problems. Often, over time, the land has become rough or bumpy, increasing the difficulty of planting and harvesting it. And soil nutrients, especially nitrogen, which is crucial to plant growth, usually are low and need to be replenished.