Pro Farmer Editors
USDA will not offer Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract holders the opportunity to exit those contracts early without paying a penalty to do so. USDA Secretary Ed Schafer held a news briefing today at USDA to announce the decision.
For more analysis and perspective on this matter, see Jim Wiesemeyer's Inside Washington Today column on the Pro Farmer page.
In making the announcement, Schafer said, "The indications, so far, are the impact on this year's corn and soybean crops will be less than what was originally feared."
As for whether this is the "final" word on this issue, Schafer said that he wouldn't commit totally to that as conditions could change.
Schafer also pointed out acreage was going to be exiting the program already via regular maturities. USDA data shows contracts 1.15 million acres of CRP ground will mature as of Sept. 30, 2008, and 3.855 million will mature on Sept. 30, 2009.
In addition, Schafer noted the acreage cap in the CRP was lowered in the 2008 Farm Bill and therefore USDA was not contemplating holding any new general CRP signups at this time.