Pilot conservation program offer 30-year sign up

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

Sign up has begun at Farm Service Agency offices for CLEAR30, a new USDA pilot program that offers farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract.

The program is available to farmers and landowners with expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay regions, which includes Illinois. Sign up ends Aug. 21.

Eligible producers must have expiring Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) initiative contracts, including continuous CRP Cropland contracts with water quality practices, or marginal pasturelands CRP contracts devoted to riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers or wetland buffers.

The longer contracts will help ensure practices remain in place for 30 years, which will help reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and help prevent algal blooms.

Annual rental payment for landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will be equal to the current Continuous CRP annual payment rate plus an inflationary adjustment of 27.5%.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. Click here for more information.