NOPA calls on USDA to release CRP land reserves

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2012-In light of today's USDA crop report, the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) urged the Administration to waive penalties for early withdrawals from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  The organization called for productive CRP acres to be brought back into production immediately “in response to the serious drought conditions affecting our nation's food and feed supplies.”

“If there was ever a time to bring back productive land that taxpayers are renting to idle, now is the time,” said NOPA Executive Vice President of Government Relations David Hovermale. “This is one of the few policy actions that the Secretary of Agriculture can, and should, take immediately to alleviate this dire drought-driven situation by allowing farmers to prepare for fall and spring planting seasons.”

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The association also requested Congress take steps to reduce the current CRP cap to 15 million acres, limit expenditures to $1 billion and not permit any new acres into the program until supply and demand estimates and stocks-to-use ratios recover.

USDA currently has 29.6 million acres enrolled in CRP, 6.5 million acres expire Sept. 30, 2012 and another 3.3 million expire in 2013.

“Ironically, farmers are busy tearing up virgin, and even more fragile, lands in response to the global demand pressure to plant more crops,” according to NOPA. “Releasing millions of acres of easily, and previously farmed, lands will reduce damage being done outside the CRP and outside the farm program conservation requirements.”

Today's WASDE report reduced world soybean production by 29 million metric tons, with estimates for 2010/11 at 265 million metric tons and 2011/12 estimated world production at 236 million metric tons.

“This represents the largest ever year-on-year decline in global soybean production, a reduction of about 11%,” Hovermale said.

USDA's August WASDE report released Friday projected soybean production for 2012/13 at 73 million tons, down 10 million from last month, and soybean yield at 36.1 bushels per acre, down 4.4 bushels from last month. Soybean supplies are 358 million bushels below last month's forecast and soybean exports for 2012/13 are reduced 260 million bushels to 1.1 billion.

“August's WASDE Report, coupled with forecasts for continued hot, dry weather in very large growing areas, is of great concern, as there is simply no margin for error,” Hovermale said. “The global soybean supply/demand situation is shaping up to be the tightest in modern history and may get even tighter if we do not get much-needed rain and, unfortunately, it may already be too late for some farmers.”

Hovermale stated that soybean processors want to be in a position to meet customer demand. According to NOPA, “reducing the size of CRP and freeing up productive acres in order for U.S. farmers to bring this farmland back into production in an environmentally sustainable manner is an essential way to help accomplish this goal.”


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