LINCOLN, Neb. – Producers can play a key role in conservation by enrolling acres in the Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) have partnered with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), Natural Resources Districts, and Irrigation entities in the program. Up to 100,000 acres can be enrolled in portions of Banner, Buffalo, Chase, Cheyenne, Dawson, Deuel, Dundy, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Garden, Gosper, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Kearney, Keith, Kimball, Lincoln, McPherson, Morrill, Nuckolls, Phelps, Red Willow, Scotts Bluff, Sioux and Webster counties.
Through the Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP, participants can be enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 10- to 15-year contracts. Participants remove cropland from agricultural production and convert the land to native grasses and other vegetation or restore wetlands. This will reduce irrigation water use, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, reduce the amount of sediment, phosphorous and other pollutants entering water bodies and improve wildlife habitat.
Eligible CREP participants may receive the following payments:
- An annual rental payment consisting of a soil rental rate based on irrigated rates
- A one-time signing incentive payment, determined by the practice.
- A one-time practice incentive payment for installing specific practices. This payment is equal to 40% of the total eligible cost of installing the practice.
- A cost-share payment of up to 50% of the eligible reimbursable cost to install the approved conservation practice.
- In addition, the State of Nebraska provides cost-share payments for 50% of the eligible reimbursable cost to install the approved conservation practice.
Enrollment for the Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP is on a continuous basis. To be eligible, land must be located in the project area and irrigated cropland or a non-irrigated center-pivot corner. Non-irrigated center-pivot corners are only eligible if enrolled with the associated irrigated center-pivot cropland.
In addition, irrigated cropland must meet irrigation history requirements and be physically and legally capable of being irrigated in a normal manner when offered for enrollment. Producers also must enter into a Water Use Contract with the State of Nebraska prior to enrollment in the Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP.
The Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP provides additional benefits not available through general and/or continuous CRP sign-up. Under the Nebraska Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP, producers receive higher annual rental payments, which increases the total amount received.
In addition to rental payments made through the FSA, payments up to $8/acre are available to landowners willing to allow walk-in hunting access through the NGPC Open Fields and Waters program. Funding for management may also be available within certain areas, contact your local NGPC or Pheasants Forever biologist for information.
For more information about FSA and its programs, visit fsa.usda.gov or contact your local FSA office. Contact the FSA to enroll in the CREP. To find a local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.