Dane County Farmers Eligible for Conservation Funds
November 29, 2001
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Topf Wells (608) 266-9069
Dane County Executive Kathleen M. Falk has signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection that will bring $1.25 million in state funding into Dane County for agricultural conservation. In addition, Dane County farmers will be eligible for at least $5 million in federal funds.
The new Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) provides federal United States Department of Agriculture dollars and state funding to farmers to help reduce soil erosion and improve water quality. Dane is one of 50 Wisconsin counties participating in the program.
“This voluntary program provides financial incentives to help farmers and landowners prevent erosion, and improve water quality and create wildlife habitat,” said Falk. “Reducing runoff will make our rivers and streams cleaner and our wildlife more abundant.”
Buffers and other practices can significantly reduce the sediment and phosphorus that impair many Wisconsin waters.
In Dane County, 3,400 acres will be eligible for the CREP program. Landowners will be able to enroll their land either for 15 years or to permanently install riparian buffers and filter strips on their land, or restore small wetlands under 40 acres. This acreage amount will be sufficient to provide buffers as filter strips along more than 75 miles of streams.
The Dane County Land Conservation Department will administer most of the new program.
County Land Conservation Department staff will meet with landowners to conduct natural resources assessments in conjunction with the CREP program, and may provide conservation planning, practice certification and monitoring of agreements or easements.
To get started, eligible landowners should contact Roger Johnson, executive director of the USDA Farm Services Agency in Dane County, at 224-3767. The FSA makes the initial determination of eligibility for CREP.
Program participants will receive annual rent, cost-share assistance to install or restore eligible practices, and other financial assistance to enroll eligible land for 15 years or in a permanent easement.
The following conservation practices may be eligible for enrollment in the CREP: establishment of permanent introduced or native grasses, grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and establishment of rare and declining habitat.
For land to be eligible it must be cropland that has been cropped two of the past five years and is physically and legally capable of being cropped. Marginal pastureland is also eligible provided it is suitable for use as a riparian buffer planted with trees.