The Green River is the most biologically diverse and rich branch of the Ohio River system, according to the 2012 annual report of the Green River CREP program. The greatest aquatic diversity occurs in the watershed area that includes Adair County.
In 2001, the Green River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program was approved as a partnership between USDA and the state, along with other partners. The goal was to restore up to 100,000 acres in eight south central Kentucky counties and was later expanded to include six more counties.
At the time of the writing of the 2012 report, 99,594.5 acres were enrolled in Green River CREP and no further contracts were being accepted.
According to that same report, 8 percent of acreage in the program – 7,424.8 acres – was located in Adair County. Warren County was home to the largest amount, 18,093.2 acres, or 17 percent; followed by Hart County with 15,078.9 acres at 15 percent. Green County included 13,633.6 acres at 14 percent.
The majority of acreage in the program, almost 73 percent, was enrolled as marginal pastureland wildlife habitat buffer.
Adair County landowners were receiving the highest average cost-share amount per acre at $320. Averages ranged from $116. Adair was set to receive close to $15 million during the life of the contract rental payment. The total for the entire program reached close to $245 million.
When originally approved, the program was expected to cost USDA $88 million, the commonwealth of Kentucky $17 million, and the Nature Conservancy $5 million. These are funds directly paid to landowners and totals do not include in-kind services.
According to the 2012 report, the federal government had exceeded its pledge and payouts would exceed $260 million over the lifetime of the contracts. The increase was partly due to the increase in rental rates and part of that occurred when the project expanded into new counties, which include more “high end” agriculture land. The state contribution was not tied to rental rates and did not increase.
According to current FSA data, 192 Adair County farms are enrolled in Green River CREP, totaling 289 contracts for 7,315.4 acres.
Almost two-thirds of those acres are enrolled as marginal pastureland wildlife habitat buffer. Another 23 percent is enrolled as riparian forest buffer.
Nine contracts for a total of 141.9 acres are set to expire in Adair County come Sept. 30. Another 39 contracts representing 801.5 acres will expire in 2018 and another 65 contracts at 619.18 acres will expire in 2019.
(Data provided by Kentucky FSA)