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MN CREP sign-up begins May 15, 2017

Landowners have a new option to protect their environmentally sensitive cropland with the introduction of the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). The kick-off for the MN CREP continuous sign-up begins today (May 15).

"Landowners have been waiting for this program, and we're excited to help them with the process," Aaron Salo said. "This is a great opportunity for farmers and landowners to implement conservation practices that support their needs while benefiting the state's water quality."

MN CREP is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat conservation. It will protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties, using buffer strips, wetland restoration and drinking water wellhead protection.

The program is funded with approximately $350 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and $150 million from the State of Minnesota.

"This is a milestone in conservation for Minnesota," said John Jaschke, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). "State soil and water conservation district staff and federal USDA staff are ready to help landowners get started."

Landowners who are accepted in MN CREP will enroll in the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 14-15 years. At the same time, the land will be put into a permanent conservation easement through the State's Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program.

Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits.

Becker County Soil and Water Conservation District--in partnership with USDA's Farm Service Agency--will begin accepting offers on May 15.

Landowners wanting to learn more should contact: Becker County Soil and Water Conservation District.

More information about the MN CREP can be found at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/crep.

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