WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced at the end of May that it will accept 3.9 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 2012. Currently in the program are 29.6 million acres, with contracts for 6.5 million acres set to expire in 2012.

Legislation now caps the CRP at 32 million acres. President Obama has said the cap should be reduced to 30 million acres, and the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill with a 25 million acre cap.

The North American Millers Association (NAMA) said it has been working in coalition with the National Grain and Feed Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association to brief congressional staff on the need to bring nonsensitive lands back into production to respond to market demands. The coalition estimates that more than 8 million acres of land identified as Class 1 and 2 could be brought back into production without sacrificing environmental goals, as the acres are so sustainable that USDA does not require a soil management plan for them. The coalition will seek to make additional progress during Farm Bill deliberations.