The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) provides incentive for landowners to protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat on cropland. It is part of the Conservation Reserve Program, but each state provides more incentive for the installation of specific practices. The Farm Service Agency will share in the cost of restoring wetlands and establishing vegetative cover. This program takes land out of production in return for annual rental payments to the landowner for this expense. This program is a component of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Land Use Cropland
Focus Cost-Share payments, Rental payments
Resource Concern Soil erosion, Water quality, Wildlife habitat
Purpose The environmental purpose is to protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat and safeguard ground and surface water.
Landowner Benefits Landowners can receive annual rental payments, cost-share payments and technical assistance. In addition, a sign-up incentive is given to participants to install specific conservation practices.
Description The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is an enhanced version of the Conservation Reserve Program. Each state identifies high-priority conservation issues and provides extra incentive for the installation of appropriate conservation practices. Some high-priority issues may be of both local and national significance, such as impacts to water supplies, loss of critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife species, soil erosion and reduced habitat for fish populations such as salmon. Each state identifies an environmental issue that is agriculture related and then works with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to develop a project that addresses this issue.
Practices The practices funded under this program will vary from state to state, and region to region. Please contact your local field office for information about the CREP program offered in your area.
Costs to Landowner The cost to the landowner depends on the state’s program and the incentives involved for each practice. Landowners pay part of the costs for establishing the conservation practice. Needed and required maintenance practices may also be eligible for cost-share.
Eligibility Landowners are eligible if they have owned or leased the land for at least one year prior to enrollment. The land must be physically and legally capable of being cropped in a normal manner and meet cropping history and other requirements. Enrollment is on a continuous basis rather than waiting for a specific sign-up period.
Contract The contract is a 10 to 15 year commitment of keeping lands out of agricultural production.
Other Notes
Landowner Initiation
  • Contact the local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or Farm Service Agency (FSA) where you own land.
  • Ask about enrolling land into the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).