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CREP Program Continues Growth


Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner announced that USDA has enrolled the one millionth acre in its nationwide Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The one millionth acre is in Minnesota; the first CREP acre was enrolled in Maryland in 1997. Conner made the announcement at USDA headquarters where Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Teresa Lasseter and other USDA officials, Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa), Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), landowners of the first and one millionth CREP acres, CREP partners and others gathered to celebrate.

Congressman Holden is chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research. Congressman Walz represents the district where the one millionth CREP acre was enrolled.

“Enrolling the one millionth acre is an important milestone in the (10-year) history of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Pro-gram,” says Conner. “By collaborating with agricultural producers, state agencies and other partners through this highly effective nationwide program, USDA is constantly improving water quality, wildlife habitat, soil productivity and the air quality throughout the country today and for the next generation.”

Protecting The Environment

Last fall, when Steve and Margaret Lange enrolled 60 acres in CREP at the Pipestone County FSA Service Center in Pipestone, Minn., USDA’s CREP surpassed the one million acre mark. The 60 acres were part of a 120,000-acre CREP project in parts of northwest, southeast and southwestern Minnesota. The Langes established riparian buffers and filter strips to protect Pipestone Creek, which winds through the couple’s property, by reducing sediment and erosion from the current. In addition, the conservation practices reduce flooding impacts, enhance wildlife and improve overall water quality. The Langes are part of the highly successful efforts in Minnesota to protect water quality in the Missouri River watershed and restore wildlife habitat.

Anna Bowers, who signed the first CREP agreement with USDA on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, also participated in the ceremony. This CREP addresses nutrient loading in the Chesapeake Bay through the use of buffers and wetland restoration. Ms. Bowers planted 16.7 acres of trees on her family farm, which reduced the amount of both sediment and nutrients that entered the Bay.

USDA contributed information for this article.

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