USDA Accepts More Than 2.5 million Acres in Grassland Conservation Reserve Program

Washington, DC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has accepted more than 2.5 million acres into this year’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup.

This is double last year’s enrollment and brings the total acres enrolled across all CRP signups in 2021 to more than 5.3 million acres, surpassing the administration’s 4-million-acre goal, USDA noted in its Sept. 10 announcement.

Max Fisher, NGFA’s vice president, treasurer and chief economist, noted in a recent article published by Agri-Pulse that the news is a positive development for the program because “CRP Grassland enrollments contain a working lands element in that (they) help ranchers to enhance the sustainability of their operations while keeping land in production.”

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USDA also noted that the enrollment of more than 2.5 million acres of grazing land into Grassland CRP will mitigate an additional estimated 22,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

USDA announced in August that it accepted 1.9 million acres through general CRP sign-up and another 897,000 through continuous sign-up.

The department announced on June 14 that it would offer CRP rental rates that are 10 percent more than the maximum allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Similarly, USDA announced a CRP grasslands minimum rental rate of $15 per acre, which is more than the national average pastureland cash rental rate.

NGFA responded with a statement noting that Congress established the maximum CRP rental rate levels to help ensure CRP is targeting marginal farmland and not competing with farmers for productive farmland.

The 2018 Farm Bill established the maximum CRP rental rates for land enrolled through general sign-ups at 85 percent of each county’s average cash rental rate and 90 percent for land enrolled under continuous CRP sign-ups.

- From the Sept. 17 NGFA Newsletter

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