Last week at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer told several groups that USDA was still closely monitoring the Conservation Reserve Program and while early outs will not be granted this year, it's not out of the question next year.
"If we can find a way that we can actually make some difference," Schafer said. "We don't want to just allow a producer to change a contract and get out of an obligation to the taxpayers that they made and not make a difference. If we can make a difference in the supply, if we can make a difference in price; it's something we are constantly evaluating."
Legislation has been introduced that would give the Secretary of Agriculture the power to change CRP contracts after taking into account environmental impact studies. Schafer says the conversation is definitely not stopped and USDA is committed to appropriate use of CRP acreage.
"We came up with a program that we thought was appropriate, that meets environmentally needs while providing the ability to use that CRP in economically advantageous position," Schafer said. "We're going to pursue it and it is being pursued legislatively on the Hill, which is where the final answer is going to be set."