The Conservation Reserve Program offers about 90% cost share on watering system practices. Yes that’s right, 90%! These practices include spring developments, pumps to distribute water from a pond or from county water hookups, pipelines, and different types of watering troughs (frost-free waterers, concrete tanks, portable plastic tanks, etc). This program, unlike others that are offered through the United States Department of Agriculture, is non-competitive. This means that if you qualify for eligibility, then offers are automatically accepted.
All you need to do is be willing to fence out your stream from livestock. The minimum buffer width is 20 feet and can go up to 120 feet. By restricting access to surface water on your property and giving your livestock a clean source of water to drink from, chances of sickness from pathogens are greatly reduced. Livestock illnesses associated with polluted water include: mastitis, scours, lepto, cryptosporidiosis, and foot rot. Nitrates in water can also reduce lactation, lower blood pressure and cause anorexia. The danger of injury or death from falling on streambanks or even drowning will be nonexistent when your livestock are excluded from these areas. CRP will also cost share 90% on fencing for livestock exclusion. Other practices CRP reimburses 90% include stream crossings for stable access to pasture fields, gravel heavy use pads around watering troughs, and trees, shrubs, or native grasses that you choose to plant inside the buffer area.
Besides the cost share that is reimbursed, there is also a one time incentive payment when you sign your contract, and an annual rental payment on the buffer area for 10 or 15 years, depending on the length of your contract. Maintenance payments will also be made to help with upkeep of certain practices.
If you would like to learn more about this exciting opportunity please call Steve Anderson with Farm Service Agency at 513-732-2181 ext. 2 or Lori Hillman with Natural Resources Conservation Service 513-732-2181 ext. 3. We look forward to hearing from you!