MN CREP Sign-Up Underway
Landowners have a new option to protect their environmentally sensitive cropland with the introduction of the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). The kick-off for the MN CREP continuous sign-up began May 15, 2017.
“Landowners have been waiting for this program, and we’re excited to help them with the process,” Melanie Krueger, District Manager of Brown Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) said. “This is a great opportunity for farmers and landowners to implement conservation practices that support their needs while benefiting the state’s water quality.”
MN CREP is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat conservation. It will protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties, using buffer strips, wetland restoration and drinking water wellhead protection. The program is funded with approximately $350 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and $150 million from the State of Minnesota.
“This is a milestone in conservation for Minnesota,” according to John Jaschke, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). “State soil and water conservation district staff and federal USDA staff are ready to help landowners get started.”
Landowners who are accepted in MN CREP will enroll in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 14-15 years. At the same time, the land will be put into a permanent conservation easement through the State’s Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits.
Brown SWCD is now accepting applications for the MN CREP program. Landowners wanting to learn more should contact our office at 507-794-2553. More information about the MN CREP can also be found on our website or the BWSR website at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/crep.