What is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program?
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is an offshoot of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the country’s largest private-land conservation program. Administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), CREP targets high-priority conservation issues identified by local, state, or tribal governments or non-governmental organizations. In exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and introducing conservation practices, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural land owners are paid an annual rental rate. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 10–15 years, along with other federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement.
Why Is CREP important?
CREP is comprised of many agreements nationwide, each targeted at a high-priority conservation issue identified at the local, state, or regional level. The voluntary participation of farmers, ranchers, and landowners in CREP programs allows critical conservation issues to be addressed while at the same time meeting regulatory requirements. With the federal and state resources made available through this program, CREP enables local leadership to find solutions to these high-priority issues.
What Are Some CREP Successes?
Multiple states have CREP agreements in place. CREP agreements have significantly helped in cleaning up and maintaining New York City’s watershed and drinking water, improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and mitigating floods in Washington State.
How Is CREP Different From Continuous CRP?
You may have read information about Continuous CRP and are wondering how it differs from CREP. While both programs focus on environmentally sensitive land, CREP is a partnership between state and/or tribal governments and the federal government. This partnership is in place to address a high priority environmental problem. Land cannot be enrolled in CREP if your state does not have a CREP agreement.
How Do I enroll?
Your state must have a CREP agreement in place with FSA. If there is an agreement, land can be enrolled in CREP on a continuous basis provided it meets the eligibility requirements for the program. Any land that meets basic CRP eligibility requirements, plus the additional requirements for a specific CREP project, is automatically eligible for enrollment. Most additional CREP land eligibility requirements apply to the location and characteristics of the land to be enrolled. All enrollment offers are processed through your local FSA office.
Why Should I Enroll?
In addition to contributing to improvement of the environment in multiple ways, those enrolled in CREP receive an annual rental payment for their enrolled acres. FSA also provides cost-sharing and other incentives to help offset the costs associated with putting these practices in place.
For further information about the program, including rental payment information, eligibility and maintenance criteria, and land requirements, visit your local FSA office.