USDA has begun distributing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments, 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program payments. Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in federal funding.
Producers will receive payments on almost 700,000 CRP contracts on 390,000 farms covering 26.8 million acres. In exchange for a yearly rental payment provided by USDA on contracts ranging from 10 to 15 years, farmers and ranchers enrolled in CRP agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant grasses or trees that will improve water quality and improve waterfowl and wildlife habitat.
CRP reduced runoff and leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways by an estimated 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds, respectively, in 2012, and soil erosion reductions totaling 308 million tons in 2012.
Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s programs. Producers with base acres of certain commodities are eligible for DCP payments.
The 2008 Farm Bill, extended by the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012, provides authority to enroll land in DCP, ACRE and CRP through Sept. 30; however, no legislation has been enacted to reauthorize or extend this authority. Effective Oct. 1, FSA does not have legislative authority to approve or process applications for these programs.