Leo Hoehn swears by the benefits of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
“We’re in a water deficient area,” said Hoehn, who farms in the Pumpkin Creek area about 20 miles southeast of Gering. “There were a number of things that we could do to reduce our usage of water, CREP being one of them.”
CREP is a part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the country’s largest private-land conservation program. Administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), CREP targets high-priority conservation concerns identified by a state, and federal funds are supplemented with state funds to address those concerns.
In exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and establishing permanent resource conserving plant species, farmers and ranchers are paid an annual rental rate along with other federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 10 to 15 years.