Reducing Runoff and Protecting Water with the CRP CLEAR Initiative

There are three primary goals of the Conservation Reserve Program: improve soil health, protect water supplies, and restore wildlife habitat. While all practices under CRP work together to achieve these goals, many of them place a specific emphasis on a particular goal. 

Last month, we discussed CRP SAFE, which focuses on establishing and restoring wildlife habitat. 

Today, we’d like to talk about the CRP CLEAR Initiative. 

What is the CRP CLEAR Initiative? 

As soil becomes damaged, it’s less capable of retaining water, leading to increased erosion and runoff. To compensate for the lack of nutrients in damaged soil, farmers often rely on synthetic fertilizers. While this can temporarily improve plant growth, it does nothing for soil health or runoff. 

Instead, it simply adds additional pollutants to your local water. 

Water runoff from farm fields is a major contributor to local water pollution. Not only that, but it’s believed to be the main cause of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. With an increase in Midwest rainfall, the situation is only growing worse. 

The CLEAR Initiative is designed to help combat this. 

The Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative prioritizes the improvement of local water quality by reducing sediment loadings, nutrient loadings, and harmful algal blooms. How this is done depends on the specific practice you enroll in under CLEAR. 

There are a number of CPs available under CLEAR. One new practice is CP-43 – Prairie Strip. Prairie Strip is unique in that it involved establishing strips of perennial vegetation within row crops fields. To learn more about this specific program and how you can benefit from it, make sure to read our post next week. 

With CLEAR, you’ll receive the same on-going rental payments and cost-share reimbursement you’d expect from CRP. By enrolling in CLEAR through CRP Continuous, you can receive a 5% Practice Incentive Payment (PIP), along with a Sign-Up Incentive Payment (SIP) equal to 32.5% of the first full year’s annual rental payment. 

Combined, these cover almost the entire establishment cost. In addition to the monthly payments, you benefit from the restoration of your soil, the cleanliness of local water, and the growth of native wildlife.  

Enrollment is now open for both general and Continuous CRP. If you’re considering enrolling in CLEAR, now is the time to act, and we can help. 

At FDCE, we offer full-service CRP solutions that cover everything from purchasing CRP seed, seedbed preparation, no-till planting to reporting and final paperwork submission to FSA. Not only do we make the process of CRP establishment pain-free, but we can help you get your cost-share reimbursement faster through proper documentation and accurate reporting. 

Contact us today.