National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supporting proposed improvements to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and noting the importance of the program for both the environment and domestic and global food security.

“NFU appreciates USDA’s work to improve the efficacy of CRP and stands ready to provide any support or assistance that would be helpful to the program,” said Johnson. “The CRP program not only benefits the environment, but it also adds substantially to U.S. and international food security by safeguarding land that can be used in emergency circumstances.”

Johnson highlighted changes that USDA has proposed to improve the program, including the inclusion of an “infeasible to farm” provision and the allowance of farmers to transfer land from CRP to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) without penalty.

“The inclusion of an “infeasible to farm” provision will allow farmers to enroll an entire field as long as at least 75 percent of the field qualifies,” said Johnson. “Also, allowing farmers to transfer land from CRP to ACEP without penalty gives participating producers more freedom to utilize the conservation program that best suits their land. These changes strengthen the program by opening it up to more farmers, allowing USDA to secure the best conservation results possible.”

Johnson also affirmed NFU’s longtime support for conservation programs. “Family farmers and ranchers have historically been our best soil and water conservationists when given the economic incentive and flexibility necessary to do so,” he said. “NFU supports the objectives of the conservation plan being used to reduce and control wind and water erosion, prevent non-point source pollution, and enhance the soil and water capacities of the land.”

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