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Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a land conservation program administered by FSA. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation program in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers and landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion, and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species.

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Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers CRP while technical support functions are provided by: USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); State forestry agencies; Local soil and water conservation districts and; Non-federal technical assistance providers.


For more information about CRP

This technical note may be used to guide prairie restoration seedings for the purposes of Wisconsin Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Practice Standards 327, Conservation Cover; 645, Wildlife Upland Habitat Establishment; and occasionally 342, Critical Area Planting. Refer to these standards for specific practice purposes and requirements.


Prairie Nursery
Seed Mix Establishment

Establishing a native plant seed mix is a long-term investment in your landscape, which requires careful planning. The variety of possible site conditions which may be encountered make it impossible to write a standard instruction for site preparation and planting procedures. These guidelines, based upon our many years of experience, have the information needed for successful establishment in most conditions you would encounter.

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Prairie Nursery Seed Establishment Guide

Prairie Moon Nursery is dedicated to helping you be a part of the collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape. Their website and catalog are great educational resources to help make your project a success. Check out their 8-step process to planting a prairie and maintaining it for 3 years.


Grow your own prairie from planting to year 3.

The Xerces Society's guide to establishing a pollinator meadow to boost populations of both wild and resident bees and managed pollinators. The single most effective action you can take is to plant native wildflower habitat. This tangible course of action can be accomplished by anyone at any scale. This includes five basic steps that are applicable to plantings that range in size from small backyard garden to an acre.

  • Site selection

  • Site preparation

  • Plant selection

  • Planting techniques

  • Ongoing management


Establishing Pollinator Meadows from Seed

Pheasants Forever

Grass: Kill it Now,Kill it Good by Aaron Kuehl, Director of Seed Operations

Poor site preparation is the number one predictor of failed habitat projects. This is especially true for projects that require conversion from cool-season,introduced, sod-forming species (like brome or fescue) to a diverse mix of native warm-season grasses and wildflowers.

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Pheasants Forever

Grass: Kill it Now, Kill it Good

by Aaron K

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides landowners with a way to earn a guaranteed income in exchange for protecting environmentally sensitive land with long-term land cover.

Experiences with CRP are as unique as the land they protect. Landowners select different programs, requirements and options to create a CRP plan that fits both their land and their goals.

It can be a complicated journey, so this booklet aims to help you on your way.

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Choosing your CRP journey

Prairie Moon Nursery - Growing Your Prairie: Establishing a Native Plant Community from Seed
Nature makes it look simple and beautiful, but the many complicated human decisions and actions required to establish a successful native plant community can prove daunting, even to more experienced gardeners or landscapers. This guide seeks to make this process simpler by discussing it as an eight-step endeavor.

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Growing Your Prairie: Establishing a Native Plant Community from Seed.

The Iowa State University Monarch Research Team developed this seed mix to benefit (1) monarch butterflies; (2) the rusty patched bumble bee; and (3) a wide variety of other native and non-native pollinators. The plant species were selected to perform in well-drained and moderately welldrained soils. The seed mix contains 37 species of nectar- and pollenproducing forbs (wildflowers). The diversity of forbs will provide floral resources throughout the entire growing season.

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Monarch Seed Mix

The Xerces Society
Pollinator Meadow
Upper Midwest
Installation Guide and Checklist

These instructions provide in-depth guidance on how to install nectar and pollen habitat for bees in the form of native wildflower meadows in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. To plan a specific project use this guide with the checklist found at the end of the document.

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Pollinator Meadow Upper Midwest Installation Guide and Checklist

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever has a wide variety of native CRP seed mixes and downloadable resources to help you get your conservation practice started.


Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever's mission is HABITAT and they want to help you with yours. Their professional wildlife biologists design mixes that meet and exceed local, state and federal standards, provide quality habitat for wildlife.


Seed mixes for every CRP practice and resources to help you get started.

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever - Broadcast seeding may be simply scattering seed on the soil, but it’s not as simple as throwing out seed and hoping something will grow. As always, site prep is critical as is the even distribution of the seed on the soil and incorporating the seed into the soil.

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Broadcast Seeding

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever - High Quality Habitat Establishment:
3-step GRASS Field Conversion Plan

STEP 1: Planning and Site Preparation
STEP 2: Seeding and Timing Methods
STEP 3: Management

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High Quality Habitat Establishment: 3-step Grass Field Conversion Plan

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever - High Quality Habitat Establishment:3-step CROP Field Conversion Plan


STEP 1: Planning and Site Preparation

STEP 2: Seeding and  Timing Methods

STEP 3: Management

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High Quality Habitat Establishment: 3-step Crop Field Conversion Plan

Prairie Seedling and Seeding Evaluation Guide

This practical and easy-to-understand field guide is the only guide with seedling-specific descriptions and handy tips on differentiating seedlings of similar plants. The guide includes pictures and drawings of seeds, seedlings, and mature plants of more than 50 tallgrass prairie grasses and flowers, as well as over 25 commonly encountered weeds.

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Prairie Seedling and Seeding Evaluation Guide

Tall Grass Prairie Center
University of Northern Iowa

Deciding when to plant a prairie is a challenge. Some species establish better when spring planted, other species establish better when fall planted and some species are hard to establish whenever they are planted. Seeding rates of some species may need to be increased depending on when and how they are planted. Prairie seed can be planted by broadcast seeding, hydroseeding and drill seeding. Regardless of the seeding method used, it is essential that seed be planted at the proper depth and with good seed-to-soil

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Tall Grass Prairie Seeding Methods

Michigan Technical Note
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
Calibration of Truax No-Till Grain Drill (Model FLX 1188RD)

The Truax no-till grain drill is a common brand of drill offered through the Conservation Districts. This document provides instruction in calibration and operation of the Truax no-till drill, using Model FLX 1188RD as an example. (This document is not intended as an endorsement of Truax, or any other grain drill manufacturer. The techniques listed in this document will be similar to those used to calibrate grain drills from other manufacturers.)

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Truax No-till Grain Drill Calibration Guide

Habitat Development for
Pollinators & Butterflies
Wisconsin Job Sheet 327

To attract pollinators, an area must have adequate sources of food, shelter and nesting sites. A variety of wildflowers and grasses will provide pollinators with food (nectar, pollen, and /or larval host plants). Blooming shrubs are an especially important source of pollen and nectar for pollinators, usually blooming well in advance of many forb species.

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Habitat for Development for Pollinators and Butterflies

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