Who’s down with CRP (acres)?
Land under the Conservation Reserve Program could potentially ease grain supply tensions caused by the war in Ukraine—if producers are allowed to farm it, that is.
CRP Plea: Through a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, industry groups and the American Farm Bureau Federation are calling for the USDA to cut CRP acres loose on an early-out or emergency basis.
Acres are enrolled for 10 years, during which they can’t be tilled or grazed. The letter urges the USDA to allow more than 4M current CRP acres to pivot into production, and to stop enrollment of any new “prime farmland” acreage into the program.
Breadbasket to fill: The pressure on CRP acres comes from missing Ukrainian corn, wheat, and sunflower oil. The war has put roughly 17.3M production acres at risk while Ukrainian farmers struggle in conflict zones to find fuel and fertilizer. Russian forces are also blocking exporters from shipping grain from the country.
Tangent: The EU proposed a 500M euro distribution to farmers most heavily impacted by high energy and fertilizer prices. They would also allow farmers to grow crops on the 6% of EU agriculture land left fallow for biodiversity. The goal is to head off food price hikes and shortages tied to the war.
Where this goes: The USDA has said it has no plans to ease up on CRP rules, and Vilsack said on March 10th it was too early to make a call. The clock is ticking, though—it’s already game time for planting in some areas of the U.S.