Bipartisan legislation introduced by New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley in the Senate would change the Conservation Reserve Program.
The Conservation Reserve Program Reform Act would prioritize enrolling marginal farmland in the CRP, rather than prime farmland. The lawmakers say the legislation would generate more durable wildlife and environmental benefits while reducing competition for productive farmland between the Department of Agriculture and farmers, especially new and beginning farmers.
Senator Grassley says, “The reforms in this bill ensure that CRP is not used on highly-productive farmland and instead focus the program on highly-erodible land.” He added; “The bill will fundamentally change CRP from enrolling prime farmland in the program, to enrolling more marginal farmland. CRP is a very valuable tool for landowners, but we need to make sure the focus stays on marginal land.”
The CRP Reform Act would set CRP’s overall acreage cap at 24 million acres for fiscal year 2024 to 2028, with an emphasis on enrolling marginal land. The bill would increase incentives to enroll marginal farmland through the continuous enrollment and grasslands categories while reducing the rental rate for general CRP sign-ups by ten percent.