Conservation Reserve Priograms
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program for agricultural landowners. Through CRP, they receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
CRP protects millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion and is designed to safeguard the Nation's natural resources. By reducing water runoff and sedimentation, CRP protects groundwater and helps improve the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Acreage enrolled in the CRP is planted to resource-conserving vegetative covers, making the program a major contributor to increased wildlife populations in many parts of the country.
However, corn farmers recently decided that the CRP needed more flexibility. Land use should be flexible, and the program should allow for lands to come back into productivity when the market demands it.
Here are some of the new policy positions on CRP passed at the NCGA Corn Congress:
1. Promote and support the voluntary enrollment under the continuous enrollment provision of CRP including:
- Wildlife habitat/food plot areas
- Filter and buffer strips
- Established waterways and turn rows
- Other partial field enrollments impacting water quality.
2. Urge that CRP rental rates should be adjusted to keep environmental and/or significant wildlife habitat sensitive lands in the CRP program.
3. USDA to ensure that payments for whole field enrollments are 30% less than the county average rental rates for similar land capability classes.
4. Methodology of breaking contracts should be changed to focus on the farmer and/or landlord being required to pay off the remaining years of contract and reimburse establishment costs provided for by USDA.