Does the Conservation Reserve Program need updated?

A professor emeritus at the Ohio State University says the Conservation Reserve Program is likely due for an update.

“If a program isn’t brought to the contemporary discussion, it tends to grow old.”

Carl Zulauf says CRP has evolved and now, grassland and continuous CRP programs are being used as much as the general CRP.

He tells Brownfield one change could include merging the continuous and general CRP into one site-specific program, using GPS for more targeted conservation efforts.

“The notion is you have a benefit which exceeds the farm and crop land in production and target individual areas of the field, but don’t necessarily use the whole field.”

But he says the targeted conservation area could be an entire field or span multiple fields.

Zulauf says CRP has strong farmer participation and could also be part of carbon capture policy.

“If there’s a consensus with the academic and public policy community that this does capture carbon, you can then write incentives to encourage farmers to follow that practice.”

He says neither option has been proposed for the 2023 Farm Bill yet. The first public draft of the 2023 Farm Bill is expected later this month. Read more from Zulauf.

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