Draft 2018 Farm Bill CREP rules available for comment
Draft rules outlining changes to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) included in the 2018 Farm Bill were released on December 6th, 2019. These draft rules include a number of favorable provisions for riparian forest buffers and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP):
- Riparian Buffer Management Payments: A new 100% cost-share payment that applies to management of vegetative cover during the life of the CREP contract in accordance with the conservation plan.
- Practice Incentive Payments (PIPs): Although PIPs were reduced to 5% for other CRP contract types, PIPs for CREP should be maintained at 40%.
- Multifunctional riparian forest buffers: Rules allow for harvesting of food-producing plants in buffers, but there will be a reduction in the rental rate.
Learn more about the draft CRP rules and implications for Chesapeake riparian forest buffers in this recorded webinar given by Terry Noto at Conservation Strategies Consulting, including aspects of the rules that need further clarification. The full draft rules are currently available in the Federal Register. FSA is accepting public comments until February 4th.
What is CREP and CP22?
CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) is a cost-share program authorized by the Farm Bill to provide landowners an annual rental rate and cost-share services for implementing vegetative buffers on their farm land. CREP programs are funded by the federal government, with specific state allocations, forming a partnership between state governments and landowners. CP22 is specifically the riparian forest buffer practice, and the one that we advocate will have the most positive impact in preserving land and the ecosystem as a whole.
CREP can offer the following services to landowners who choose to implement the CP22 best management practice:
- Income for Landowners– CREP CP22 participants receive an annual rental rate from their local government and cost-share services
- Benefits to the Local Environment– CREP CP22 participants will experience improved water quality and wildlife in and around their waterways, while also preventing the amount of pesticide, erosion, and nutrient pollution to the Chesapeake bay.
- Free assistance in Implementing Forest Buffers– CREP CP22 participants are offered free assistance from their state governments in designing and implementing their CP22 plans.
Riparian Forest Buffer Progress in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Find out 2017’s new acres of forest buffers in your county to date and learn about forest buffer initiative success stories from across the watershed.
How is my county doing?
This map shows acres of recently enrolled (year-to-date) riparian forest buffer contracts per county in the Chesapeake Bay watershed under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) CP22 practice. Click on the county to see prior year enrollment and total acres enrolled to date.
Why only CP22 acres?
CREP funds most of the riparian forest buffers planted in the watershed. The Farm Service Agency keeps up-to-date CP22 sign-up records. These records are a useful and current metric for measuring a county’s progress in achieving its riparian forest buffer goals. However, CREP is not the exclusively responsible for all riparian forest buffers in the watershed. In particular, it misses the significant acreage of forest buffers planted on non-agricultural lands. If you or your organization would like your non-CREP buffer acreages reported here, please contact us.