Senators Introduce Conservation Reserve Program Improvement Act

Senators Introduce Conservation Reserve Program Improvement Act

On January 31, U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, reintroduced the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Improvement Act. This legislation would bolster CRP by improving access to grazing, maximizing enrollment options for producers, and addressing implementation issues following the 2018 farm bill.

“After hearing firsthand from South Dakotans, it is clear that we need to keep working to ensure that CRP continues to be an effective option for producers and landowners,” said Sen. Thune in a release. “This common-sense legislation would help advance the multiple-use benefits of this conservation program, including wildlife habitat and livestock forage potential.”

The CRP Improvement Act would:

  • Make CRP grazing a more attractive option by providing cost-share for the establishment of grazing infrastructure – including fencing and water distribution – on all CRP practices and contracts if grazing is included in the approved conservation plan;
  • Increase the CRP annual payment limitation from $50,000, which was established in 1985, to $125,000 to account for inflationary and rising land value pressures and provide landowners with more CRP enrollment options to ensure resources are appropriately conserved;
  • Reinstate mid-contract management cost-share payments for activities that are not related to haying or grazing; and
  • Permanently establish the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement practice under Continuous CRP.

“Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever supports these proposed changes as they will provide more flexibility for farmers, ranchers, and landowners in implementing conservation practices across the country,” said Jim Inglis, director of governmental affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “CRP is an important program that provides tremendous benefits for pheasants, quail, and many other species of wildlife, and we thank Senators Thune and Klobuchar for their efforts to ensure CRP continues to work for producers, wildlife, and rural communities.”

February 15, 2023