Agribusiness groups, Farm Bureau urge use of CRP lands for grain
Key agribusiness groups and the American Farm Bureau Federation on Wednesday urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to allow holders of contracts under the Conservation Reserve Program, which idles land, to plant crops on those lands to increase supply during the Ukraine war and to make sure that only “environmentally sensitive” land is enrolled following the CRP signup that ended on March 11.
The letter was signed by the American Bakers Association, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers’ Association, and the North American Export Grain Association as well as Farm Bureau.
“We urge USDA to provide flexibility to producers to plant crops on prime farmland as well as the least environmentally sensitive acres currently in the program without penalty, whether on an emergency basis or through an early-out of their current CRP contracts,” the letter said.
“We firmly believe that prime farmland acres should be accessible to working lands programs, including Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Security Program, that provide proven environmental benefits while continuing to produce abundant crops to the benefit of both U.S. and global consumers.”
Agribusiness groups have traditionally favored a smaller CRP devoted to the most environmentally sensitive land because the idling of land leads to lower use of seed and other inputs, smaller production, and less shipping, all of which impact their businesses.
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