USDA expanding Conservation Reserve Program
The CRP program allows farmers and ranchers to voluntarily enroll and receive signing incentives of $100 to $150 per acre on which they implement CRP practices. Through Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR), a newly announced initiative, the USDA will help landowners build bioreactors and saturated buffers that will improve water quality around farms by filtering nitrates and other nutrients from tile-drained cropland. The department is also adding 1.1 million acres, 700,000 of which are dedicated to the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative. The remaining acres will go toward wetlands restoration and pollinator habitats.
"The Conservation Reserve Program is an extremely popular voluntary program that offers producers and landowners a wide variety of opportunities to prevent erosion, protect wildlife habitat and reduce nutrient runoff," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "With the program close to the legal enrollment limit of 24 million acres, USDA has been working to use all of the tools at our disposal to maximize benefits by combining multiple soil, water and wildlife objectives in the areas where it is needed most."