In 1997 the first acres were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. On Thursday, Farm Service Agency Administrator Teresa Lasseter opened a celebration of the enrollment of the one-millionth acre in CREP at the USDA headquarters in Washington. Attending the ceremony were Steve and Margaret Lange of Pipestone, Minn. who enrolled the acreage that put the program over the million acre mark, as well as Anna Bowers of Maryland who signed the first CREP contract eleven years ago.
"Enrolling the one millionth acre is an important milestone in the history of USDA's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program," said acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner. "By collaborating with agricultural producers, state agencies and many other partners through this highly effective program, USDA is improving water quality, wildlife habitat, soil productivity and air quality throughout the country today and for the next generation."
CREP is a voluntary part of the Conservation Reserve Program that retires environmentally sensitive lands to reduce erosion, provide wildlife habitat and protect ground and surface water. The program focuses on local participation and leadership in a community-based, results oriented effort. USDA partners with state and local agencies, groups and individuals to help protect these sensitive areas.