Potomac Highlands Watershed School

WV Potomac Tributary Strategy: Appendix 4.

  Paying For It

Appendix 4.  Agriculture Cost Share Programs


In addition to the programs noted in the main document, the following agricultural cost share programs are also available to defray costs associated with implementation of BMPs:

·        The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water.  The program is a partnership among producers; tribal, state, and federal governments; and, in some cases, private groups.   CREP cost shares up to 90% of the costs of installation of practices like stream fencing, alternative water supplies, and riparian buffer plantings; and also pays rental for the land taken out of production.  The length of CREP contracts ranges from 10-15 years.


·        The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP may cost-share up to 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices and incentive payments may be provided for up to three years to encourage producers to participate.  The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.  The local conservation district approves the plan.


·        Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) provides cost-share payments to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.  USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has leadership for the conservation provisions of AMA.


·        The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program that encourages farmers to plant long-term resource-conserving covers to improve soil, water, and wildlife resources.  The CRP is administered by the CCC through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).  CCC makes available assistance up to 50 percent of the participant’s costs, as well as annual rental payments and incentive payments for certain activities.  Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.  Partners include the NRCS, the Extension Service, state forestry agencies, and local conservation districts.


·        The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program that encourages creation of high quality wildlife habitats that support wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance.  Through WHIP, NRCS provides technical and cost-share payments to landowners and others to develop upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat areas on their property.  Agreements are usually 5 to 10 years in duration.