Better for Water, Better for Landowners, Better for Wildlife
drains into Smithville Lake. Graeff thinks CREP is a great program. “I feel CREP has cut down on the sediment going into Smithville Reservoir,” said Graeff. “I think it will take more time to see the long-term results of CREP. Not everyone is in the program, but atrazine readings in Smithville Lake have been down.”
Tim Kelley, state executive director for FSA in Missouri, believes that CREP is also “a win-win-win for the natural resources that make Missouri a great place to live—the soil, water and wildlife.” And that is why Carol Ellis of Amity likes what CREP has done for her land. “We are renting the land to the government in return for preserving land, controlling erosion, protecting water quality and promoting wildlife,” she said. “We are doing what we can to earn what we receive.”
A few miles north of where the Smithville Lake watershed begins is the watershed that drains into the City of Maysville Reservoir. There, said Ellis, her land,“is providing sediment control for the reservoir, and I feel the wildlife population has increased. I am seeing quail, and for awhile I didn’t. I feel this program is doing something.”
Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Fred Ferrell said, “Missouri farmers are using some of the most environmentally friendly farming techniques in history, yet each year we attain record or near-record yields. Conservation and agriculture go hand-in-hand.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation is a new addition to the CREP partnership and will allow the program to expand to almost one-third of the state and enroll up to 40,000 acres. MDC is committed to provide $1 million in direct payments to landowners to match up to $50 million in federal monies in CREP. This money is part of MDC’s efforts to increase funding for restoration of bobwhite quail and other grassland
birds, such as the state-endangered prairie chicken. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will provide an additional $2.5 million to landowners for signing incentives and cost-share payments.
For the landowner, CREP can be more than just a cost-effective way to address rural environmental problems and meet regulatory requirements; it can provide a viable supplement to farm income as well.
Landowners can enroll qualifying acres into CREP in exchange for annual rental payments and incentive payments, plus additional help to establish practices.
On average, CREP annual rental payments for producers can run from $85 per acre to more than $100 per acre per year. Additional