The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Division of Soil and Water Conservation is making farmers aware of funding available through the Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
CREP is the country’s largest private-land conservation program. Administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency in partnership with ODA and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, CREP targets high-priority conservation concerns in exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production. In return for establishing permanent resource-conserving plant species, farmers are paid an annual rental rate along with other federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement.
Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 15 years.
“Farmers are continually looking for innovative ways to practice conservation on their farms,” said Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “This program provides opportunities to make positive contributions to our state’s water quality while allowing farms to remain productive.”
A $200 bonus is now being offered by the state of Ohio for all newly-enrolled filter strip and riparian area practices. For current CREP participants with expiring contracts, re-enrolling and expanding the width of filter strips or riparian areas will earn the bonus dollars on those new added acres, while expanding the environmental protection of these practices.
The Lake Erie CREP is available in 27 Ohio counties including Fulton County. Farmers have until Feb. 28, 2020, to apply.
For more information and to sign up, visit the local Soil and Water Conservation District or contact the ODA Division of Soil and Water Conservation at [email protected] or 614-265-6610.