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Green Payment Program Covers 8% of U.S. Farmland

Some 72 million acres of farmland are enrolled in USDA’s first green payment program, says a National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition report. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) holds 8% of all U.S. farmland and is equal in size to Iowa and Georgia combined. Unlike the older CRP, producers are required to enroll their entire operations in CSP. 

At least 10% of the farmland in 16 states is in CSP, including powerhouses such as Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. 

Separately, USDA says 23% of CRP land has been reenrolled at least two times, and some 2.6 million acres were idle since the program was created in the mid-1980s. Farm Bureau economist John Newton says contracts on 17.7 million acres expire by 2028, so Congress, in writing the 2018 farm bill, may “consider which type of cropland to prioritize (i.e., continuous or general sign-up) and how long acres should remain in CRP.”

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