USDA to accept 2.8 million CRP acres, less than the goal
The Agriculture Department announced Monday it has accepted 2.8 million acres in offers from agricultural producers and private landowners for enrollment in 2021 into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays landowners to idle land for conservation and wildlife habitat purposes.
This year, almost 1.9 million acres in offers have been accepted through the General CRP Signup, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has accepted over 897,000 acres for enrollment through the Continuous Signup, USDA said in a news release.
The Continuous Signup remains open and CRP Grasslands Signup closed last week, so USDA expects to enroll more acres into all of CRP than the 3 million acres that are expiring.
“At 20.8 million acres this year, CRP enrollment is at the lowest level since the program began in the mid-1980s,” DTN/Progressive Farmer noted.
“USDA opened enrollment for the General Signup in April looking to add 4 million acres to the program, recognizing that 3 million acres would be coming out of CRP at the end of September,” DTN said.
FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said in a news release, “Despite Congress raising the enrollment target in the 2018 farm bill, there have been decreases in enrollment for the past two years. The changes we made this spring have put us on the path to reverse this trend.”
But Ducheneaux added, “Even with the improved direction, USDA will still be about 4 million acres below the enrollment target. The CRP benefits for producers, sportsmen, wildlife, conservation and climate are numerous and well documented. We cannot afford to let them to be left on the table.”
“We are grateful to the leadership and staff at the USDA, who have worked diligently over the last several months to ensure that the Conservation Reserve Program remains a viable and effective conservation tool,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that when the CRP is administered with the needs of landowners in mind, they respond by investing their lands in conservation,” Fosburgh said.
“This course correction is needed now more than ever, as management decisions in recent years have left program acreage at a 30-year low, with an additional 4 million acres set to expire by October 2022. We look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to improve the trajectory of the CRP and guarantee that the program benefits our natural resources, landowners, and the sporting community for years to come.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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