National Grain & Feed Assoc. calls for more targeted CRP

By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, April 14 – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) urged USDA to downsize and significantly reform the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in comments responding to a 622-page draft USDA supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) on future CRP policy options. To read USDA’s draft EIS, go to:

Of the three policy alternatives contained in the draft EIS, NGFA favored the option that would reduce the size of the CRP to 24 million acres. But it encouraged USDA to allocate more than the 4 million acres called for under that policy option to targeted signups of the most environmentally sensitive land, such as through buffer strips and grassed waterways.

“We submit that reducing the size of the CRP – and reallocating some of its financial expenditures to conservation programs that benefit working farmlands, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), as well as targeted CRP enrollments of the most environmentally sensitive lands – would achieve greater conservation benefits than idling under the CRP vast tracts of tillable land that can be farmed in environmentally sustainable ways,” the NGFA said. 

In acreage terms, the association said the current CRP represents the fourth largest U.S. “crop.”

The other two policy options offered in USDA’s draft environmental assessment both call for enrolling 32 million acres in the CRP – the maximum allowed by Congress under the 2008 Farm Bill during the fiscal year 2010-12 period. 

The NGFA, whose members handle more than 70 percent of the U.S. grain and soybean crop, noted that given the burgeoning federal budget deficit, USDA likely will be under increased congressional pressure to achieve greater environmental benefits with reduced spending under its multiple conservation programs.

To read more about the NGFA position, go to:

To return to the News Index page, click: