Organic Buffer Plantings Eligible for Conservation Payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that new buffer plantings around organic fields are eligible for rental payments and cost-share if they are enrolled in 10-15 year conservation contracts.

Part of the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), the new organic option is open for sign-up throughout the year and is not subject to bidding and ranking processes. Instead, land is enrolled automatically if it qualifies for the program.

According to the FSA, eligible practices include riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass waterways, shelterbelts, windbreaks, living snow fences, contour grass strips, salt tolerant vegetation, and shallow water areas for wildlife.

Participating in the program will help organic farmers comply with federal organic requirements to maintain or improve the natural resources of the farm—including soil and water quality—and conserve biodiversity.

The cost-share provision will provide a 50% match on the cost of eligible buffer plant species, including grasses, shrubs, and trees. FSA also offers special, one-time signup incentive payments of $100 per acre.

For information on enrolling in the organic buffer initiative, contact your local FSA office. Read more about the program at the NSAC blog. FSA also administers other programs that assist organic farms.