Here are some of the questions that commonly come up at our workshops and site visits.
If you don't see your question down below, a local CREP planner can help you evaluate your options. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who is eligible for CREP?
Anyone who owns land that meets these criteria is likely eligible to participate:
Has been used to raise crops for at least four years between 2012 and 2017
Has a natural resources concern
The landowner does not have to farm the land themselves -- or even commit to farming in the future. If the landowner leases that land to another farmer, there are some provisions in place to protect that tenant.
Who is a likely candidate for CREP?
If you are eligible, we won't turn you away! But CREP is especially attractive for those who:
Have erodible or flood-prone land. It's heartbreaking to work a piece of land only to lose it all to rising waters. And flooding is getting worse in Pennsylvania. If you have a field that is at risk, you might not regret enrolling that land in CREP. Sink your blood, sweat, and tears into better soil somewhere else.
Graze cattle along the creek. CREP can help you keep your cows safer on dry ground -- and get them the water they need another way.
Have a large farm. Putting land into CREP isn't that different whether you enroll 1 acre or 1,000. Enrolling more land means larger payments to you and bigger benefits to the public.
Have good leasing options. If you can lease quality land at affordable rates, CREP can help you level up your farming game.
Have retirement in their near future. If you are approaching the end of your farming career, you can put your troublesome land in CREP keep farming the land that is the most fun and profitable.
What do the most common CREP projects look like?
A typical CREP in Pennsylvania project looks like this: A farmer signs a 10-15 year contract to enroll their environmentally sensitive or less productive acres in the program. In return, the farmer receives reimbursements from the U.S. and state governments to cover their costs for reforesting and replanting to control erosion and provide wildlife habitat. After that, they receive an annual payment of between ~$20 and ~$230 per acre, per year, for the life of the contract.
If there are livestock, CREP helps keep the creek and the animals safe from each other. CREP may help cover the cost of fencing and alternate watering systems.
Visit this page for some examples.
What do NON-typical CREP projects look like?
The landowner has a problem with flooding and/or erosion and CREP helps them reduce their losses.
What are the benefits of CREP to the landowner?
Control erosion on their farm
Reduce their crop losses to flooding
Have their upfront costs largely or completely reimbursed
Get expert help thinking through the solution
Receive a guaranteed annual rental payment for up to 15 years
Why is CREP is a good investment for the public?
There are many public benefits for this investment, including:
Cleaner water downstream of the CREP lands
Habitat for songbirds, fish, and other wildlife
Do landowners continue to pay agricultural property tax rates on their CREP lands?
Do landowners have to allow public access to their CREP lands?
No. CREP lands remain private property.
What responsibilities do landowners have for their CREP lands?
They have to honor the terms of their 10-15 year contract and conservation plan. For all contracts, this includes controlling weeds. For a typical project, that means keeping 70% of the trees alive for three years. For other kinds of projects, there may be some maintenance involved.
Can a landowner graze or make hay on their CREP lands?
In a nutshell, no. CREP is just a small piece of a larger CRP program offered by Farm Services Administration. Please contact FSA for more information about other conservation programs that might allow for haying or grazing.