ST. PAUL — Signup will begin this summer for CLEAR30, a new pilot program that offers farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract. This pilot is available to farmers and landowners with expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts. The signup period is July 6 to Aug. 21.

“This pilot allows us to work with farmers and landowners to maintain conservation practices for 30 years, underscoring farmers’ commitments to sound long term conservation stewardship on agricultural land,” said Minnesota Farm Service Agency Executive Director Joe Martin. “Through CLEAR30, we can decrease erosion, improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat on a much longer-term basis.”

The pilot is available in a dozen states, including Minnesota. Eligible producers must have expiring Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) initiative contracts, including continuous CRP Cropland contracts with water-quality practices or marginal pasturelands CRP contracts devoted to riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers or wetland buffers.

Annual rental payment for landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will be equal to the current Continuous CRP annual payment rate plus an inflationary adjustment of 27.5%, since CLEAR30 contracts will be for 30 years — much longer than the 10- to 15-year contracts for Continuous CRP offers.

For more information, call your local USDA Service Center.