Smith leads letter to Perdue urging incentive payments for CRP enrollment |

Smith leads letter to Perdue urging incentive payments for CRP enrollment

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and other Democratic senators on Tuesday urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to increase incentive payments for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program to stop the enrollment decline in the CRP.

In a letter to Perdue last week, Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and fellow Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Patty Murray of Washington, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Dick Durbin of Illinois, pointed out that during a time of declining CRP enrollment, the USDA has offered Practice Incentive Payments at only 5% of the cost of the practice, even though the 2018 farm bill authorized the USDA to pay farmers up to 50% of the cost.

“Past administrations have also offered rental rate payments to incentivize enrollment, something the Trump administration has not done,” they said.

In 2020, 5.36 million acres of CRP land are scheduled to expire, while just 3.54 million acres have enrolled in the program, resulting in the loss of nearly two million acres, the senators noted.

“At a time when we should be encouraging producers to participate, these changes to CRP are taking away incentives for farmers to enroll in the program,” the senators wrote. “We urge the administration to implement the program as Congress intended, and support farmers dedicated to conservation and responsible land stewardship.”