Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is only days away from announcing “greater opportunities” for landowners to take fragile farmland out of production in exchange for a payment. A Successful Farming article says the Biden Administration is looking for ways to halt a 13-year decline in the number of signups under the Conservation Reserve Program, the largest land set-aside program in the country.
Vilsack recently told Illinois public radio that the CRP could play a role in President Biden’s plan to make American agriculture the first in the world to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 20.8 million acres are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, with contracts on three million acres set to expire on September 30. While the 2018 Farm Bill calls for gradually raising the enrollment cap to 27 million acres, it lowered the annual rental rate to landowners to pay for those extra acres. Some senators had said last fall that the USDA was “being stingy” with the incentives and bonuses it had previously offered to encourage producer participation.