Conservation Connection: Conservation Reserve Program

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(KPLR) - Did you know it can pay to help wildlife?  There’s a government program available for agricultural landowners that allows them to use their land to benefit both water quality and wildlife, and not lose any money while doing it.  It’s called CRP.  MDC Private Land Conservationist Jennifer Porcelli and Wildlife Biologist Ryan Diener with Quail Forever explained the program to Christine Buck.

Q. What is the CRP Program?

  • CRP stands for Conservation Reserve Program
  • Federal Government program based on the Farm Bill
  • A voluntary program for agricultural landowners
  • Allows for taking less productive land out of production to establish natural cover or wildlife habitat
  • Federal funds subsidize the landowner for income they would have made on the ground from crops if it was farmed

Q. What are some benefits of doing this?

  • Focuses on erodible land . . . natural ground covers reduce erosion near streams
    • Farming directly to stream edges is an unstable practice
    • Allowing a buffer of natural cover between farmed land and the water (called a Riparian Zone) prevents erosion
    • Saves landowner property that would have been lost to erosion
    • Improves the soil
    • Protects water quality
    • Provides opportunities to create habitat for wildlife

Q.  What are some of the specific practices in the CRP program?

  • CP2—Native warm season grass field plantings
  • CP4D—Wildlife corridor plantings
  • CP42—Planting forbs and wildlfowers to benefit pollinators like bees and butterflies

Q.  How does a landowner qualify for the CRP?

  • Must be a landowner
  • Must actively farm the land
  • Must have owned the land for at least one year

Q.  Where can viewers find out more?

  • Attend one of two CRP information meetings that cover details of the program, qualifications, and enrollment information
    • Tuesday, May 14th from 6:30-8 p.m. at Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood
    • Monday, May 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. at August A. Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles (reservations required)

Or call your local USDA Service Center