Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Introduction

Vermont’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary program designed to reduce sediment runoff and improve water quality by removing land from agricultural production and establishing vegetative buffers.   State and federal funds are used to compensate landowners for the loss of productive agricultural land through upfront incentive payments and annual rental payments based on the total acreage dedicated to vegetated filter strips, forested buffers, or grassed waterways.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Brochure (pdf)

Program Eligibility

CREP is an enhanced version of the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), making eligibility requirements largely the same for both programs.
To be eligible for the CREP program:

  • The applicant must have owned or operated the land for 12 months prior to enrollment.  
  • The land must be in agricultural use.
  • The land must be adjacent to a perennial stream or river that lack vegetative buffers and have agricultural related water quality impacts.  

CREP does not cover isolated wetlands, man-made ponds or entire fields.

Program Definitions

A filter strip is a grassed area that helps reduce sediment, nutrient, and pollutants in runoff.

A forested buffer contains trees and/or shrubs in addition to a filter strip to reduce runoff losses, provide enhanced wildlife habitat, stabilize streambanks and create shade to lower water temperatures.  

A grassed waterway is a shallow vegetated swale designed to convey concentrated runoff to surface waters without causing erosion.

Financial Assistance

Federal cost-share and incentive payments are available to cover 90% of the implementation costs associated with fencing, alternative water systems, stream crossings, and vegetative buffer establishment. In most instances the costs may be 100% covered with help from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  

The payments from CREP come from two sources, a lump sum payment once the state and federal contracts are signed, and annual payments for the next 15 years.  The payments are based on the quality of soils within the buffer area and the type of agricultural use the land has had within the last decade.  Contracts can either be 15 or 30 years, during which the buffers must be maintained by the contracted individual.  

For an example of a CREP payment plan, please review the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Brochure (pdf).

Sign up for CREP

For additional information or to sign up for Vermont’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), contact your local Farm Service Agency, or contact Vermont Agency of Agriculture CREP Coordinator Ben Gabos:
Ben Gabos CREP Coordinator
802-461-3814
ben.gabos@vermont.gov

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Food Safety & Consumer Protection                        802.828.2426
    • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
    • Dairy                              802.828.2433
    • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures        802.828.2433
    • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Farmer Assistance                    802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.3475
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431