ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) praised the US Department of Agriculture’s decision to allow Conservation Reserve Program participants in the final year of their CRP contract to request voluntary termination and other land management flexibilities, noting global food challenges, in a statement released May 26.

The USDA also announced additional flexibilities for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).  

“NGFA thanks USDA for providing some additional flexibility to producers with expiring CRP contracts and those with existing EQIP and CSP contracts,” said Mike Seyfert, president and chief executive officer of the NGFA. “These actions will allow producers to respond to market signals by putting farmland back into production while providing proven environmental best practices on working lands and continuing to protect our most environmentally sensitive agricultural lands.”

CRP is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are from 10 to15 years in length. 

The NGFA also encouraged the USDA to consider next year’s expiring contracts and do so in a timely manner for the planting of the 2023 spring crops. 

“We should explore every option available to assist countries facing challenges in feeding their growing and hungry populations due to the decline of exports caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Seyfert said. “That is why back in March, NGFA called for flexibility to plant on prime farmland idled in the CRP, which represents one out of every four acres in the program. 

“During this global food crisis, NGFA encourages USDA to continue to provide more flexibility to landowners and urges Congress to make reforms in the next farm bill to prevent idling of productive farmland acres.”