Earlier this year, Gov. Mark Dayton signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a third round of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in Minnesota, which seeks to enroll 60,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land in 54 counties across the state.
Under the program, a state investment of about $150 million would leverage about $350 million in federal funds. The state Legislature the past couple of years has been busy allocating money to CREP, and it seems likely our state will reach its goal during the upcoming legislative session.
Still, an announcement last month of a temporary suspension in signup for the federal Continuous Conservation Reserve Program left some people scratching their heads. In response, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources issued the following news release today:
Sign up for MN CREP continues despite
Federal CRP Continuous Signup suspension
In October, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced a temporary suspension of enrollment in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP).
However, Minnesota landowners are still able to participate in sign-ups for the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). The MN CREP is a partnership between the State and USDA that includes both the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and state Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve easement program to create buffers, restore wetlands, and protect wellheads for drinking water.
Farmers and agricultural landowners can voluntarily enroll land in the program. The program’s 60,000 acres will provide water quality and habitat protection benefits in the state.
“MN CREP’s attractive payment rates and ability to retire marginal cropland make it an excellent option for landowners,” said Bill Penning, Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Easement Section Manager.
MN CREP applications are being accepted in the 54-county project area of southern and west central Minnesota. Interested landowners can continue to sign-up at their local USDA FSA office.
The program is just one option for landowners who wish to install conservation practices on their land. The local FSA/Natural Resources Conservation Service/Soil and Water Conservation District office can provide numerous strategic, voluntary, long-term solutions to directly address resource problems.
The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) encourages eligible landowners to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District for more information and signup assistance. Learn more at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/crep/ or find your local SWCD at www.maswcd.org.