Supporting Conservation Practices to Improve Farmers' Bottom Line
In the early 2000s, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation successfully led a coalition advocating for legislation for the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program to provide tax credits to support conservation efforts on farms. REAP was established in July 2007 and became effective in October of the same year.
But we didn't stop there.
Every year, CBF fights ensure that the state budget continues to allocate sufficient funds, and were pleased that the 2014-15 budget includes $10 million in REAP tax credits.
What is REAP?
REAP offsets 50 to 75 percent of the costs of no-till planting equipment, cover crops, forested streamside buffers, filter strips, grassed waterways, manure storage systems, composting and alternative manure treatment practices, conservation and nutrient/manure management plans, management intensive grazing systems, and other practices.
New guidelines also include equipment for manure injection, vertical tillage, and rolling cover crops to cut the need for herbicides before planting a subsequent crop. Credits for cover crops will be capped at $30 per acre for a single species, and $40 per acre for multiple species with higher costs and environmental benefits.
Applications for completed projects are being accepted now, and for proposed projects beginning August 25, 2014. The application and guidelines can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website.
You can also contact your County Conservation District or Joel Semke at the State Conservation Commission, 717-705-4032.