House Ag Chairman looking to stop continuous CRP signup

The USDA will open continuous enrollment for the Conservation Reserve Program ahead of the general enrollment later this year.

House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson told farm broadcasters Wednesday he would do what he could to stop it.

“I told them that they better stop this, and I asked my staff to find out if we can sue them,” he says. “I’m not going to stand for this.”

The Farm Service Agency stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup when 2014 Farm Bill expired. Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Administrator Richard Fordyce says they’ve analyzed the farm bill language and determined that a limited signup prioritizing water quality practices furthers conservation.

But, Peterson says fewer landowners would enroll in the general CRP signup in December.

“We’ve been pushing them to do the general signup and they claimed they couldn’t do it before December because they had to write new regulations and then we found out they’re going to go ahead with the continuous signup,” he says. “It’s unclear what they’ve done here in terms of whether they’re going to limit it, but I’m not happy.”

Peterson says it also takes money away from general acres and doesn’t benefit wildlife as much.

“Now to the point where a third of it is continuous,” he says. “One of my primary interests in CRP is the benefit to wildlife and you don’t get a benefit by putting this stuff alongside rivers.”

FSA announced they will accept continuous signup enrollment contracts starting June 3rd. They are for 10-15 years and acreage typically includes riparian buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, and grass waterways.

Fordyce says FSA will open general signup in December 2019. He says enrollment for CRP grasslands will be available later.

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