Farm Progress

Senate looks to reform CRP

Grassley, Booker say bill would benefit environment and farmers.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 12, 2023

2 Min Read
Conservation prairie
Getty Images

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Cory Booker, D- N.J. introduced a bipartisan bill this week they say will help both farmers and the environment. The Conservation Reserve Program Reform Act would prioritize CRP enrollment for marginal farmland while potentially making more prime farmland available.

According to Grassley, the CRP Reform Act promotes effective conservation while also expanding opportunities for young and beginning farmers. He believes it will benefit American farmland and farmers for generations to come.

“For decades, the Conservation Reserve Program has been a valuable tool for landowners to enhance soil and water quality for their environmentally-sensitive land,” Grassley said. “However, entering large tracts of land into the program can make it difficult for new and beginning farmers to access land. The reforms in this bill ensure that CRP is not used on highly-productive farmland and instead focus the program on highly-erodible land.”

CRP is a land conservation initiative that pays farmers an annual rental payment in exchange for not farming on environmentally-sensitive land. The CRP Reform Act would cap overall acreage between fiscal year 2024 and 2028 to 24 million acres. It incentivizes landowners to enroll marginal farmland in the “continuous enrollment” and “grassland” categories. Rental rates for general CRP sign-ups would be reduced by 10%. The CRP Reform Act would also eliminate some re-enrollment barriers and extend maximum contract lengths for marginal land up to 30 years.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is a critical tool for reducing erosion and protecting natural resources, but we can do more to ensure it benefits both our environment and farmers,” Booker says. “Our bill allows farmers to enroll the most sensitive land for the long term while keeping productive land available for those who currently struggle to get access to it, improving CRP and making it work better – and doing it in a budget-neutral way.”

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About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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