More flexibility for CREP conservation program

More flexibility for CREP conservation program

Washington Ag Today April 16, 2010 Private landowners have more flexibility to enhance salmon habitat as a result of recent improvements to a popular conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP. County conservation districts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will be taking applications for CREP, which now offers additional conservation practices and provides for additional lands to be eligible. Rod Hamilton of the state FSA office provides the details.

Hamilton: “We are trying to expand the program to offer some new options. We are going to offer a smaller, kind of a narrower buffer, on small streams. We are going to offer grass filter strips on drainages that go into salmon bearing streams; couple of practices to buffer wetlands. And then the other change is to make orchards, vineyards and berry lands eligible if they want to put in a buffer along a waterway or something like that.”

Land enrolled in 10-15 year CREP contracts is removed from agricultural production and grazing. In return, producers receive annual rental payments, contract signing incentives and financial incentives of nearly 100 percent reimbursement for creating new wildlife habitat.

Hamilton says they tried to get higher rental rates for orchards but didn’t succeed although he notes that CREP rental rates are significantly higher than normal CRP.

Signup for this enhanced CREP program is underway and is on a continuous basis.

I’m Bob Hoff and that’s Washington Ag Today on Northwest Aginfo Net.

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