State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) in McLean County
SAFE provides an opportunity to develop grassroots cooperative conservation projects to address high priority wildlife needs through habitat restoration. The practices must be used to address wildlife habitat that can be enhanced through the restoration of eligible cropland through CRP. Enrollment is available under continuous and general signup criteria, depending on the practice and cover being established.
Eligible SAFE Conservation Practices
SAFE Areas – Designated Areas in Illinois for Grassland Bird Management (CP 38A Buffers)
Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds – Field Borders (CP 33)
- Establish Native Grasses and Forbs that Average 60-120 ft. Around the Edges of Ag Fields with enrollment areas on 1, 2, or 3 sides of a field instead of encircling the entire field.
- Field entrances remain open for equipment crossing
Prairie Strips (CP 43)
- 30-120′ native prairie strips, ideal for windmill lanes, tree line edges, and conjoining a terrace.
- Reduce Erosion, improve nutrient management, improve wildlife habitat
SAFE Areas – Designated Areas in Illinois for Grassland Bird Management (CP 38B Wetlands)
Shallow Water Areas For Wildlife (CP 9)
- Establish Native Grasses and Shallow Wetlands on Low Areas in Crop Fields that Frequently Flood Out
Wetland Restoration (CP 23)
- Restore Native Grasses and Water to areas that were Historically Wetland Habitat
Other potential practices include:
- CP23A Wetland Restoration, Non Floodplain, CP25 Rare and Declining Habitat (Grass)
SAFE Areas – Designated Areas in Illinois for Grassland Bird Management (CP 38CE Grass)
Wildlife Habitat (CP-4D)
- Native grass plantings that may include tree & shrub plantings, wildlife food plots.
- 10 acre minimum field size requirement and 10 acre minimum enrollment.
- 5% minimum shrub planting required.
- Producers have the option to include a 30’ wide cool season grass/legume firebreak
surrounding native grass plantings. Cool season firebreak seeding mixtures must contain at a minimum, one cool season grass and one legume.
Other potential practices include:
- CP2 Native Grasses, CP12 Wildlife Food Plot (10% of the total acres, not to exceed 5 acres)
Land and Landowner Eligibility
- Land with a current cropping history with the Farm Service Agency from 2012-2017
- Crop must have been reported 4 of the 6 years within this range
- Landowners must meet the Adjusted Gross Income “AGI” requirement
- Land must fall within the SAFE area
- Contracts begin October 1st of a program year
This page has been provided as a summary and resource for McLean County Landowners and Producers. The Conservation Reserve Program is a program administered by the Farm Service Agency. Any and all information found on the Farm Service Agency website or from the McLean County Conservation Reserve Program CRP clerk is considered the most accurate information and the most accurate program policy.
Historical Area Pre-2022 State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) in McLean County
McLean County pre-2022 had two SAFE areas that allowed landowners and producers to qualify for a range of wildlife practices that could be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program SAFE CP38. The Cheneys Grove Township, a Southern portion of Anchor township, Eastern edge of Arrowsmith township, and a southern portion of Funks Grove were within the SAFE area. SAFE has now expanded into a statewide effort with a Pheasant Range and Quail Range, making the opportunities more expansive throughout the state. McLean County falls within the Pheasant Range and the entire county now has eligibility with multiple criteria areas that need to be met first.