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US senator to USDA: Delay CRP signup due to war in Ukraine

U.S. Sen. John Boozman wants the deadline to sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program delayed until U.S. farmers have a better understanding of the supply disruptions stemming from the war in Ukraine.

Supply Chain Background Concept Glowing
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Sen. John Boozman tells Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that deadline to sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program should be delayed due to the disruptions associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas) has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the deadline to sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) until U.S. farmers have a better understanding of the potential supply disruptions stemming from the war in Ukraine.

Boozman, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, noted in a letter dated March 8 and sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly disrupted U.S. agricultural markets and increased grain prices.

“The significant increase in prices is related to supply concerns resulting from the ongoing closure of ports that are key to the export of agricultural commodities from Ukraine, and the likely disruption in spring planting of crops such as wheat, corn, sunflower and barley due to the conflict,” the letter said. “These disruptions in the supply of wheat, feed grains, and oilseeds will affect food security and further exacerbate ballooning global inflation. With inflation at a 40-year high, and global food prices reaching a new record last month, the administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should focus on policy options to increase domestic production of food.”

Boozman said the sign-up deadline for the CRP should be delayed due to the disruptions associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Additionally, with regard to any acres electing not to re-enroll in CRP, or any acres that would have otherwise been enrolled in CRP, the administration should ensure maximum flexibility for farmers to purchase insurance for these spring-planted crops,” the letter said. “Should conditions in Ukraine continue to deteriorate, consideration should be given to continued opportunities to graze livestock on CRP ground without penalty, and a one-time waiver to plant a spring crop on non-environmentally sensitive CRP cropland in order to offset anticipated production losses in Ukraine.”

The European Union recently announced that future cultivation of fallow land was among its plans to ensure food security in response to the war in Ukraine.

According to the USDA, the CRP is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.

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