|For most agricultural producers, activities over the winter months tend to slow down. This is an opportune time to take a look at your farming operation and determine if there are areas that could benefit from the establishment of one or more conservation practices.
For instance, do you have a ditch or stream running through your farm that needs a filter strip? Is a particular field prone to wind erosion and stands to benefit from a windbreak? How about that one area that’s hard to farm because it’s always wet? Have you considered how FSA’s Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (Lake Erie CREP) might benefit your farming operation and help to protect the environment at the same time?
Lake Erie CREP began with the main objective to improve water quality in all of our rivers, streams, and tributaries within the Lake Erie watershed with a special emphasis on the Blanchard and Tiffin Rivers as important tributaries of the Maumee River. These conservation practices will target environmentally sensitive areas to reduce sediments and nutrients, prevent water pollution and minimize the risk of flooding and improve the habitat for multiple wildlife species.
Farmers and landowners can choose from a variety of practices including grass buffer strips, riparian buffers, wetlands, and windbreaks that work together to prevent chemicals, soils, and other contaminants from running off of cropland and into waterways. Also, participants can earn money on less economically viable land, such as land along ditch banks and streams.
In exchange for installing and maintaining these practices, you will earn a guaranteed annual rental payment for 14 to 15 years plus receive a cost share and potential incentives to cover the majority of the cost of practice installation. The annual income from the conservation practice will be similar to what is paid for cash rent on the three predominant soils of the CREP practice area. Additional soil rental rate incentives are also available. Also, FSA can provide you with an estimate of the payments you would be eligible to receive for the duration of the contract period (14-15 years).
The Lake Erie CREP is available in 27 counties including; Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot Counties.
Sign-up for the Lake Erie CREP is going on now. Interested landowners and farmers can view our Lake Erie CREP factsheet or contact their FSA County office or the SWCD office to learn more about the Lake Erie CREP.