USDA’s Farm Service Agency began accepting applications June 3, 2019, for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program. All Chesapeake states have CREP programs in place. It is the primary program for landowners to restore riparian forest buffers. Prior to reopening, the Program had been closed since September 2018.
Riparian forest buffers are greatly lagging in implementation and new buffer programs are needed. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law December 20, 2018, allowed for the reauthorization of CREP. While the Program’s intent is to provide certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, the frequent openings and closings of the Program have led some states and partners to create substitute programs that are more stable. But for now, applications for new and re-enrolling CREP buffers should be submitted before the window closes again in August. Information about CREP and current agreements are available on this webpage.