PA CREP News and Updates

By: Judy Becker, District Manager

The NCCD, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Schuylkill County Conservation District held a joint Soil and Water Quality Field Day on August 29th at the Agricultural Research Service Lab in Klingerstown. The meeting was free for attendees. Dinner was provided by ScottDee’s Catering in Hegins and meeting materials were also provided.   
The Field Day was offered in two sessions: Session 1 covered new information about the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and ran from 2pm until 5pm. Session 2 covered important research that occurred in the Mahantongo Creek Watershed and ran from 6pm until 9pm. Attendees had the option to sign up for one session or both. Dinner was served at 5pm in between the two sessions. 
Topics for both sessions were provided by representatives of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Pheasants Forever, the ARS Lab, Penn State University, NRCS, NCCD, and the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance. Time was also provided for questions during both sessions.  Approximately 100 people were in attendance. The meeting was paid for by a CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program and grant funding that was available from the Schuylkill County Conservation District. 
Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.  
PACD Receives $451,000 from DCNR for Buffer Grant Program

Districts are encouraged to identify priority areas for multi-functional buffers in anticipation of applying for these sub-grants

The Wolf Administration today announced close to $1 million in grant investments to five recipients throughout Pennsylvania for planting trees and income-producing species along streams. Stream buffers help keep nutrients and sediments from the land from impacting water quality.

All projects include multi-functional buffers. They contain species such as nut trees, berries, and willows in buffer zones so that the landowner can sell these products, and realize some income from land dedicated to buffers.

PACD is the largest grant recipient at $451,000. This funding will support conservation districts in constructing approximately 85 acres of multi-functional riparian forest buffers along waterways throughout Pennsylvania. This sub-grant program will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to complete demonstration projects statewide, in partnership with local conservation districts. Each buffer will be designed for the needs of the watershed and interests of the landowner, resulting in a diversity of harvested products.

For more information on PACD’s Multi-functional Riparian Buffer Sub-Grant for Conservation Districts, contact PACD Program Manager Amy Brown at abrown@pacd.org or (717) 238-7223 x104.

Click here to read the entire press release. https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=535

EWG Applauds Farm Bill Drinking Water Reforms

Updated to reflect House passage of final farm bill that will now be sent to President Trump for his expected signature: 

WASHINGTON – Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, issued the following statement on water and conservation provisions in final farm bill passed this afternoon by Congress. 
“Although no farm bill is perfect, the farm bill passed today by Congress rejects pesticide riders, preserves existing conservation compliance requirements, and helps more farmers transition to organic farming than ever before.
“This farm bill also includes important reforms that will better leverage conservation funding to protect sources of drinking water and reduce harmful toxic algae blooms. In particular, crop insurance and conservation provisions in the final bill will encourage farmers to adopt proven drinking water protection practices like cover crops and streamside buffers.
“Although Congress must do much more to address the serious threats posed by farm pollution, many of the reforms included in this farm bill will provide longer-lasting public health benefits and smarter conservation spending.”
  • Thanks to Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Pa.; and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., the final farm bill increases funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and includes provisions for prioritizing drinking water protection projects.
  • Thanks to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the final farm bill allows states to identify the 10 most effective conservation practices for higher cost-share payments through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP.
  • Thanks to Sens. Brown; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and Casey, the final farm bill establishes a new Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers, or CLEAR, Initiative that will make drinking water protection and toxic algae blooms a priority for Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, enrollments, including 30-year contracts.  
  • Thanks to Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the final farm bill will require that no less than 10 percent of funds for each conservation program be spent on drinking water protection.
  • Thanks to Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., the final farm bill will reform the federal crop insurance program to encourage the adoption of cover crops.
  • Thanks to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Kathy Castor, D-Fla., for fighting for drinking water provisions.
  • Thanks to Sen. Casey, the final farm bill includes important reforms to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, which funds agreements to establish buffers of trees and grasses along rivers and streams, and requires that 8.6 million acres of CRP land be enrolled through CREP agreements and other continuous enrollment categories.
  • Thanks to Sens. Brown, Ernst, Grassley and Casey, the final farm bill reforms the Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP, to encourage farmers to adopt cover crops and crop rotations.
  • Thanks to Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, the final farm bill will require greater scrutiny of conservation practices and payment rates.
  • Thanks to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Casey, and Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., the final farm bill includes important reforms to EQIP and CSP that will help more producers transition to organic.
  • Thanks to Sen. Stabenow, the final farm bill for the first time makes the growing toxic fluorinated, or PFAS, contamination crisis a priority for USDA’s rural water utility programs.


The PA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Outreach Program Office (housed at PACD) recently released a 30 second public service announcement for radio and television. 

The public service announcement may be used by conservation districts and partners to help promote the CREP program. 

Visit our website at www.pacd.org Contact Amy Brown  abrown@pacd.org  with questions. 
Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

   The Pennsylvania CREP program is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency .

CREP Outreach Program Office | 717.238.7223 | info@creppa.org | www.creppa.org