U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Alabama) recently introduced a bill that aims to limit the types of farmland that would be eligible for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CRP, as we know it today, was officially established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill as a program in which the government provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who take steps to enhance the natural resources that are in their care.
The original intention of the program was to provide funds for the conversion of less than optimal farmland to grassland or timber. However, recently, funds have been used to enroll productive farmland, which then lays dormant, in a time when farmland is becoming more scarce.
The Roby bill would reduce the number of acres enrolled in the program by 24 million over four years, ending payments for the most highly productive farmland.
The bill is supported by a number of organizations: Alabama Farmers Federation, National Grain and Feed Association, American Feed Industry Association, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Chicken Council, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, North American Millers’ Association, and The Fertilizer Institute.
Roby bill would tighten CRP enrollment requirements
By Debra Davis, Alabama Farmers Federation
A bill filed last week by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., tightens enrollment requirements in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The CRP was originally implemented to prevent erosion and protect sensitive farmland by providing funding for landowners to convert marginal cropland to grass or timber.
Recently, however, the program has tended to enroll high-quality and otherwise highly productive land, all at a time when farmland is becoming scarce, Roby said.
“We need to apply smart erosion prevention and conservation techniques on marginal lands, but using taxpayer money to encourage landowners to let quality cropland lay dormant doesn’t make sense,” Roby said. “This legislation restores common sense to the Conservation Reserve Program and saves taxpayers’ money.”