ANNAPOLIS, MD — The Maryland Department of Agriculture has increased its one-time signing bonus to $1,000 per acre for eligible farmers and landowners who install forest buffers along qualifying stream corridors through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Farmers and landowners with new contracts for CREP practice CP22 riparian buffers effective on or after October 1, 2021, are eligible. All other CREP contracts and re-enrollments remain eligible for a $100 per acre signing bonus.
“The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is an excellent way for Maryland farmers to earn extra income on their land and improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “If you have marginal cropland or pastureland that is next to a stream, wetland, or highly erodible land, you may be eligible to participate. This program is a good investment choice for landowners looking to supplement farm earnings with a steady income stream.”
Now in its 24th year, Maryland CREP has helped thousands of landowners plant streamside buffers, establish wetlands, protect highly erodible land, and create wildlife habitats on their properties. CREP is a state-federal conservation partnership that pays landowners attractive annual rental payments to take environmentally sensitive land out of production and install conservation practices that protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat. Rental contracts range from 10 to 15 years for this voluntary program.
New this year, up to 100% cost-share is also available through the Maryland Agricultural [Water Quality] Cost-Share Program (MACS) to establish streamside buffers and wetlands. Free technical assistance to install these and other conservation practices is provided by local soil conservation districts.
If you are a farmer or landowner who is interested in CREP, please contact your local soil conservation district or Farm Service Agency to take advantage of this special offer. Sign-up for Maryland CREP is ongoing and continues until acreage goals are met.
For more information about the one-time CREP bonus payments, please contact Alisha Mulkey at (410) 841-5873 or firstname.lastname@example.org.