NGFA concerned by higher, non-targeted CRP rental rates

ARLINGTON, Va., June 14, 2021 –  National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) President and CEO Mike Seyfert made the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) June 14 announcement to offer Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental rates that are 10 percent more than the maximum allowed by the 2018 farm law.

“The NGFA and its members encourage efforts to preserve fragile lands and enhance environmental benefits. NGFA is fully supportive of working lands programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), because they provide incentives to help producers adopt best management practices to maintain and expand their output while improving environmental outcomes. However, NGFA is deeply concerned with proposals to expand the CRP that will take significant acreage out of production and place the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage globally, while risking making it harder for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to compete on rental rates and gain access to land needed to expand their operations. 

“The 2018 farm law 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. Congress established the maximum CRP rental rate levels to help ensure CRP is targeting marginal farmland and not competing with farmers for productive farmland. NGFA supported these changes in the 2018 law and is concerned by USDA’s decision to offer CRP rental rates exceeding the statutory maximums by 10 percent and believes the higher rates will lead to enrollment of productive farmland. This decision also runs counter to signals from the market encouraging farmers to maintain and expand production. Programs that increase acreage idling in the United States weaken our food and agricultural supply chains and send market signals to competitors to plant more acres, resulting in negative climate and environmental impacts. We look forward to working with USDA to promote conservation in a manner that enhances environmental benefits while preserving U.S. agricultural productivity and competitiveness and maintaining access to farmland for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.”

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NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,000 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. NGFA also consists of 33 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and NGFA is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.