(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new investments the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to make in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other programs that help farmers adopt environmentally friendly best management practices that can also mitigate the effects of climate change.
Secretary Vilsack made the announcement at a meeting of the White House National Climate Task Force.
Following Vilsack’s announcement, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Director of Science and Agricultural Policy Beth McGee said:
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation welcomes Secretary Vilsack’s efforts to improve the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and applauds USDA for sending a clear signal that it is a priority for the Biden administration. Enrolling land in CRP not only helps improve and protect water quality, it can also help farmers contribute to greenhouse gas reductions and make their land more resilient to the more frequent and intense storms, flooding, and other related weather extremes.
“A part of the CRP called the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has helped Bay region farmers finance the majority of forested buffers in the watershed. Buffers are an essential, cost-effective practice Bay states are relying on to reduce nutrient runoff into the Bay and its waterways. Unfortunately, CREP enrollment in the watershed has dropped dramatically in recent years.
“These investments, along with CREP improvements in the 2018 Farm Bill, will invigorate one of the most important USDA programs for restoring the Bay. We thank USDA for its leadership and urge the department to partner with the states and work expeditiously to make these critical reforms, so farmers in the Bay watershed and around the country can reap financial rewards they’ve earned for the public benefits they are providing.”