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Senator Thune proposes more CRP acres

South Dakota Senator John Thune says the next farm bill should offer more acres and more flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program.

Thune says he wants the CRP acreage cap raised from its current 24 million acres to 30 million acres, according to a news release issued by Senator Thune’s office.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson favors raising the CRP acreage cap to 40 million, but Committee Chairman Michael Conaway is skeptical about funding that.

The 2014 farm bill gradually lowered the CRP acreage cap from 32 million down to 24 million.

Senator Thune also wants more flexibility for grazing and haying on CRP-enrolled land.

Thune’s proposal is for grazing to be allowed on CRP acres at 25 percent of the stocking rate during the grazing period.  In exchange, the CRP rental rate for the grazed acres would be reduced by 25 percent.

Haying of CRP acres could be done on up to one-third of enrolled acres on a three-year rotating basis.  That would also be in exchange for collecting reduced CRP payments for those acres.

Thune is a Republican member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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