Attention Horse Farm Owners ! Deadline for Application is September 30.
"This voluntary program offers a one-time signing bonus, now up to $250 an acre, attractive annual rental and incentive payments, and cost-share to install streamside buffers, wetlands, livestock fencing, watering facilities and other stream protection practices. "
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program applications now being accepted
Annapolis, MD - 6/29/2014
By Press Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture
Local soil conservation districts are now accepting applications for the newly reauthorized Maryland Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Farmers interested in earning extra farm income by taking environmentally sensitive cropland out of production for 10 to 15 years and planting streamside buffers, establishing wetlands, protecting highly erodible land or creating wildlife habitat should call or visit their local soil conservation district to take advantage of this popular environmental incentive program. Applications will be accepted through September 30.
CREP is a federal-state partnership program that was reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. This voluntary program offers a one-time signing bonus, now up to $250 an acre, attractive annual rental and incentive payments, and cost-share to install streamside buffers, wetlands, livestock fencing, watering facilities and other stream protection practices. CREP buffers meet all Maryland Nutrient Management Program setback requirements. In addition, CREP offers easy reenrollment for current participants with expiring contracts.
“The good news is that CREP is back and available to help farmers protect local waterways, enhance their farming operations and comply with Maryland’s nutrient management regulations,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “It’s worth checking into. I’ve never met a farmer who regretted installing a stream crossing or watering facility. Livestock farmers report that these practices can help improve hoof health for cattle and reduce mastitis problems in dairy cows. I urge farmers to visit their local soil conservation district to find out how this program can benefit their farms.
Maryland’s Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program and USDA’s Farm Service Agency provide landowners with financial assistance to install best management practices (BMPs) on lands enrolled in CREP. Incentive payments worth up to 40 percent of the cost-share allocation are available for certain BMPs. Free technical assistance to install BMPs is provided by local soil conservation districts. In some instances, landowners have the option of selling a permanent easement on their land to the state.
In 1997, Maryland became the first state to participate in the CREP program. Since then, CREP has helped hundreds of landowners plant streamside buffers of grasses and trees, establish wetlands, protect highly erodible land and create wildlife habitat on roughly 70,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land. When fully implemented, CREP will help Maryland achieve its water quality goals by:
- Reducing an estimated 11.5 million pounds of nitrogen and 1.1 million pounds of phosphorus from entering Maryland waterways each year.
- Reducing the amount of sediment entering streams by approximately 200,000 tons annually.
- Establishing and enhancing 77,000 acres of riparian buffers and 5,000 acres of wetland habitat and 2,000 acres of habitat for declining, threatened or endangered species, including the bald eagle and Eastern bog turtle.
- Stabilizing and protecting up to 16,000 acres of highly erodible land.