Indiana, July 13, 2005 (ENS): The state of
Indiana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Friday signed an agreement that establishes a $20.2
million Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
to improve water quality for the Indianapolis and Evansville
"Reducing agricultural runoff into the targeted
watersheds improves the environment by enhancing habitat
for wildlife, especially for threatened and endangered
species," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck
Conner attended the signing ceremony for the new CREP
at Brownsburg with Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman.
"This partnership will also improve water quality,
and I encourage all eligible producers to participate,"
The Indiana CREP targets the enrollment of 7,000 acres
in the Highland/Pigeon, Tippecanoe and Upper White River
watersheds where sediment, nutrients, pesticides and
herbicides run off from agricultural land.
Landowners can offer eligible cropland and marginal
pastureland in these watersheds. Land enrolled in the
program remains under contract for a period of 14 to
In return for installing approved conservation practices,
over the course of their contracts, CREP participants
will receive incentive payments and cost-share assistance
from USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation, which also
will provide annual rental payments for the duration
of the contract.
The state of Indiana will contribute at least 20 percent
of the overall costs of implementing the CREP and will
offer 10 year contract extensions and permanent easements.
Indiana will pay all costs associated with monitoring
the state's water quality and provide technical assistance
to develop conservation plans and implement practices.
The total cost over a 15 year period is estimated at
$20.2 million, with the federal agency contributing
$14.6 million and the state funding $5.6 million.
Signup for the Indiana CREP is scheduled to begin July
18, and will continue until enrollment goals are attained,
or through December 31, 2007, whichever comes first.
The CREP, a part of the Conservation Reserve Program
administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency, partners
with states, tribal governments and private groups to
address critical conservation issues.
The program has garnered strong support nationwide
from agricultural producers and landowners, sports enthusiasts
and environmentalists, and local and state governments
since its start in 1997.
More information on the Indiana CREP is available at
local FSA offices and on FSA's website at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/default.htm.