Documented as USDA's most successful conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Program observes its 25th anniversary on December 23rd. But that doesn't mean it will automatically be re-authorized in the 2012 Farm Bill, according to Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever, vice president of government affairs.
"For 20 years straight, CRP has put 30 million acres on the ground every year," begins Nomsen. "The program pays for itself in improved water quality and pheasant populations have doubled and tripled due to CRP. But there are many challenges facing re-authorization," warns Nomsen.
"The threats to CRP are stronger than ever," he continues. "Over the years we've put together a really strong bi-partisan group that supports CRP but it will be a challenge to convince the 95 new members of the House and Senate of the benefits of CRP, even with its 25-year history as a well-proven program."
Budget constraints and deficit issues will be a factor, continues Nomsen. "Factors including ethanol, high commodity and land prices may all contribute to CRP disappearing from this changing agricultural landscape."