Bob Humphrey is the Biology & Deer Behavior field editor for Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine and holds similar titles with other major hunting publications. He currently lives in Maine with his wife and two children. For more information about Bob, visit his website at www.bobhumphrey.com.
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I keep hearing references to “CRP” on hunting shows. What’s that?
QUESTION: Bob, I keep hearing hunters on television shows say things like, “The deer are coming out of the CRP.” What is CRP? It usually looks like tall weeds or such. - Jerry H. of Winston-Salem, NC
ANSWER: That’s a great question. One of the most important responsibilities of folks in the outdoor media (press) and outdoor entertainment (TV) is to educate. Yet so often, we assume the general public knows what our jargon means.
CRP is indeed tall weeds and such, but it’s not just any tall weeds.
CRP is an abbreviation for the Conservation Reserve Program; a federal land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Farmers who voluntarily enroll in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from production and instead plant species that help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. In return, those farmers receive a yearly rental payment from the federal government.
In many cases, farmers plant generic “conservation” mixes, consisting of perennial grasses and forbs that are aggressive, effective at preventing soil erosion and produce abundant food, mostly for upland game and songbirds.
These plantings also provide good cover. However, it’s my understanding that food plots also qualify as CRP, so a landowner could plant something more to their, and the deer’s liking.