HARRISBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With hurricane season at full peak and increased flooding possible, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) today announced that it stands ready to pay farmers and landowners for eligible flood-prone lands. CREP, a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), pays farmers to retire and restore land that erodes easily or floods often. CREP is designed to improve water quality, benefit wildlife through habitat development, and reward participants for doing their part to help the environment.
Hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November, and while Pennsylvania has generally escaped the effects of the 2023 season to date, the potential for hurricane-related flooding still exists. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently revised their Atlantic hurricane season prediction to ‘above normal,’ indicating that two to five storms could become “major hurricanes” with wind speeds up to 111 mph or greater.
“Rains and flooding from hurricanes increase soil erosion, which chokes local streams, smothering habitat and worsening flooding problems downstream,” said Jim Gillis, Farm Programs Chief for Pennsylvania, FSA. “Participation in CREP is a win-win for the farmer and the public. Erodible and flood-prone fields require more attention and produce less revenue per acre than more productive farmland. By enrolling less-productive or more trouble-prone land in CREP, farmers can focus their efforts on their most productive land. And using CREP as an alternative to farming acres with high inputs and low profits can often make up for the acres taken out of production.”
CREP is available to those who own cropland, and for marginal pastureland along non-forested streams anywhere in Pennsylvania. The land must have a recent history of agricultural production to be eligible, but the landowner does not have to farm the land currently.
To learn more about CREP and how to enroll in the program, please visit https://www.creppa.org.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program pays farmers and landowners with flood-prone or erosion-prone land to restore or retire their marginal acres. As a 100% voluntary program, landowners sign a 10-15-year contract that reimburses them for the cost of conservation practices such as replanting trees, creating forested buffers, adding fencing, and providing wildlife habitats. Enrollees then receive annual rental payments between $20 and $230 per acre for each year of the contract. CREP is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency in cooperation with Commonwealth agencies. Learn more about CREP.