The Department of Agriculture will start offering some landowners and farmers a chance to enroll in 30-year Conservation Reserve Program contracts starting in July.

Landowners in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay region who have expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts will be able to enroll in the CLEAR30 pilot program.

“Through CLEAR30, we can decrease erosion, improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat on a much longer-term basis,” USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce said.

In order to participate, producers must have expiring Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers initiative contracts along with CRP cropland contracts with water-quality practices or marginal pastureland CRP contracts. The contracts must be devoted to riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, or wetland buffers.

Traditional CRP contracts last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but Fordyce said the longer contracts will help make sure practices stay in place for three decades to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and prevent the formation of algal blooms.

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Landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will have an annual payment rate equal to the Continuous CRP annual payment rate, including an inflationary adjustment of 27.5% because the contract is longer than a traditional one, according to USDA.

FSA will also help producers maintain acreage on the CLEAR30 contract. Producers will be able to sign up for the program from July 6 to Aug. 21.

The pilot program will be available in the following states:

  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

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