PDF _ 97-673 - Conservation Reserve Program: Status and Current Issues
8-May-2001; Jeffrey Zinn; 6 p.

Abstract: The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), enacted in 1985, enables producers to retire highly erodible or environmentally sensitive cropland, usually for 10 years. Congress reauthorized and amended the CRP in the 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act (P.L. 104-127; 16 U.S.C. 3811, et seq.). The law caps enrollment at 36.4 million acres and makes funding mandatory through the commodity Credit Corporation. There were 32.8 million acres enrolled on October 1, 2000. Since 1996, land has been enrolled through general signups, continuous enrollment of smaller parcels with high environmental benefits, and state programs that supplement federal efforts. USDA officials have stated that acres enrolled since 1996 have much higher average environmental benefits and lower average costs than earlier ones. As the next farm bill debate approaches, Congress is likely to debate: (1) increasing the overall size of the CRP; (2) offering shorter-term contracts or economic uses of enrolled lands as new options; (3) changing environmental targets; and (4) responding to a recent tax ruling. The program is widely supported, so reauthorization is not likely to be an issue. This report will be updated periodically. [read report]

Topics: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economics & Trade

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