Content ID

46303

Schafer weighs more post-flood CRP options

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said Wednesday that a USDA decision on further changes in the Conservation Reserve Program would be made "in a couple of weeks," not this fall.

Schafer is getting pressure to allow early release of CRP acres for cropping or for cutting hay, but advocates of those changes say the decision would have to be made almost immediately to have much affect on this year's already delayed planting and crop development.

"We are re-evaluating all option here as we look at the impact of the flooding in the Midwest," Schafer told reporters in a telephone press conference.

He said the Department has already decided that producers will be able to move cattle on to CRP land in flooded areas as soon as that's practical.

Schafer didn't hold out much hope that there would be changes in the new permanent disaster program in the just-passed farm bill. The law doesn't give the USDA authority to speed up writing rules for the program, called SURE, or Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments.

The rules may not be finished this year, he said.

Nor is it likely that the USDA will be able to make an advance payment under SURE, as some farm groups have requested.

"I think it's unlikely to happen," Schafer said. "There is some question whether we have the statutory authority to do so."

And, because SURE is a revenue program that is determined in part by the annual average price of crops for a year after they're harvested, the USDA won't know until the fall of 2009 how this summer's flooding affected potential payments, he said.

"If we can't estimate what a payment might be, it's pretty hard to give you an advance or a portion of it," he said.

Schafer said there are few immediate changes in the safety net that was adoped in 2002 and continued in the new law.

Farms with a base of less than 10 acres are no longer illegible for DCP payments, Schafer said, unless the farmers are economically disadvantaged.

The same adjusted gross income limit of $2.5 million remains in effect for 2008, Schafer said. Then it drops to $500,000 for nonfarmers and $750,000 for farmers.

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said Wednesday that a USDA decision on further changes in the Conservation Reserve Program would be made "in a couple of weeks," not this fall.

Read more about
Loading...

Tip of the Day

Driver for electric fence posts is helpful

Fence post driver from Mar '20 AATF I welded a steel cap and handle onto one end of a section of light-duty 1¼-inch angle iron and a footstep onto the other end. This lets me... read more

Talk in Marketing