The USDA has announced a partnership with the Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, and Rosebud Sioux Tribes to improve grassland productivity, reduce soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat on land owned by the tribes or their members.
The tribes are entering the CREP, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which allows farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices. Participants receive annual payments while still being able to use the land for grazing.
USDA Deputy Administrator for farm programs Scott Marlow says the agreements with the tribes don’t actually sign up or require signing up any acres; they simply set up an easier process to do so.
Marlow says “It’s critically important that we work together from our shared commitment to the conservation and stewardship of the land and water that we all depend on.” He adds that enrollments will begin in the next few weeks.
There are currently 36 Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in 27 states, but this is the first partnership with tribal nations.