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USDA to Open Signup for CRP

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2019 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is opening signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) on December 9, 2019. The deadline for agricultural producers to sign up for general CRP is February 28, 2020, while signup for continuous CRP is ongoing.

Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive a yearly rental payment for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors and a critical tool to help producers better manage their operations while conserving natural resources,” Secretary Perdue said. “The program marks its 35-year anniversary in 2020, and we’re hoping to see one of our largest signups in many years.”

CRP has 22 million acres enrolled, but the 2018 Farm Bill lifted the cap to 27 million acres. This means farmers and ranchers have a chance to enroll in CRP for the first time or continue their participation for another term.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the U.S. The program was originally primarily intended to control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. This Farm Bill program has evolved over the years, providing a variety of conservation and economic benefits from coast to coast. CRP has:

  • Prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;
  • Reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively;
  • Sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road;
  • Created more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world 7 times; and
  • Benefited bees and other pollinators and increased populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds

By enrolling in CRP, producers are improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and restoring habitat for wildlife. This in turn spurs hunting, fishing, recreation, tourism, and other economic development across rural America.

CRP Enrollment Options

General Signup

CRP general signup will be held annually. The competitive general signup will now include increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.

Continuous Signup

While some practices under SAFE will remain available through continuous signup, CRP continuous signup will focus primarily on water quality within the Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative. The 2018 Farm Bill prioritizes water quality practices such as contour grass strips, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetlands and a new prairie strip.

USDA will also be working with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) partners to relaunch CREP continuous options in each state under new statutory provisions. CREP will continue to target high-priority local, state or regional conservation concerns.

Grasslands Signups

CRP Grasslands signup helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, and pastureland and certain other lands while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. A separate CRP Grasslands signup will be offered each year following general signup. The sign-up period for CRP Grasslands in 2020 runs from March 16, 2020 to May 15, 2020.

Pilot Programs

Later in 2020, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will roll out pilot programs within CRP: CLEAR 30, which allows contracts expiring with CLEAR practices to be reenrolled in 30-year contracts and in the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) in the prairie pothole region. More information on these programs will be announced in the new year.

Land Transition

The CRP Transition Incentives Program (TIP) is an option for producers interested in transitioning land to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group to return land to production for sustainable grazing or crop production. CRP contract holders no longer need to be a retired or retiring owner or operator to transition their land. TIP participants may have a lease less than five years with an option to purchase, and they have two years before the end of the CRP contract to make conservation and land improvements.

Previously Expired Land

Land enrolled in CRP under a 15-year contract that expired in September 2017, 2018 or 2019, may be eligible for enrollment if there was no opportunity for re-enrollment and the practice under the expired contract has been maintained.

CRP Rates and Payments

FSA recently posted updated soil rental rates for CRP. County average rates are posted on the CRP Statistics webpage. Soil rental rates are statutorily prorated at 90 percent for continuous signup and 85 percent for general signup. The rental rates will be reviewed annually. Under continuous signup, producers also receive incentives, including a signup incentive payment and a practice incentive payment.

More Information

CRP marks its 35-year anniversary in 2020, and FSA will continue to highlight the impacts of the program that was created in 1985 and the many stewardship-minded farmers, ranchers and landowners who have participated over the years. Learn more.

To enroll in CRP, contact your local FSA county office or visit fsa.usda.gov/crp.




MFP Deadline Nears

December 6 is the MFP Sign Up Deadline



Concern swells as USMCA talks linger

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still isn’t ready to hold a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but the pace of talks between Democrats and the White House is picking up speed as both sides aim for ratification before the end of the year. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat charged with spearheading negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to produce a pact that can pass the House, assured Agri-Pulse this week that talks are intensifying and progress is being made, but time is running out in 2019.

READ FULL ARTICLE




Senator Merkley advocates for CBARC funding

A continued effort in agriculture advocacy by Senator Merkley is deeply appreciated as he was able to secure funds ($2 Million) for the Resilient Dryland Farming Initiative. The inclusion of the funding for the Resilient Dryland Farming Initiative in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill by the Senate Appropriations Committee is good news!

"I’ve seen firsthand the cutting edge research underway at the Pendleton ARS, and the progress researchers have made here in Oregon has helped me fight for ARS federal funding in my role as top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. Thanks to the advocacy and partnership of wheat growers in Oregon, I am happy that we have been able to support the resilient dryland farming initiative and improve our nation’s agriculture."
- Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

This funding will help the ARS-Pendleton complete the hiring of new scientists, the improvement and expansion of the facilities and the cooperative work with the OSU-CBARC (Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, Adams) researchers.

The Committee recognizes the need for advancements in dryland production practices, cropping,and equipment to increase profitability, conserve the soil, enhance soil water storage, promote soil health, and decrease reliance on herbicides. The Committee provides no less than the fiscal year 2019 level to expand research focused on resilient dryland farming.

Research should focus on improving yield and quality parameters; developing cropping systems capable of tolerating drought, heat, and diseases; and quantifying economic and environmental benefits from dryland crop production systems.


U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement Confirms Equal Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The text of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement signed today in Washington, D.C., confirms that the agreement will provide imported U.S. wheat the same preferential advantage that is now given to Canadian and Australian wheat under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Japan’s legislature must approve the agreement before it is implemented.

“As we hoped, the text confirms that the agreement will put U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia when it is implemented,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson, who attended the event at the White House. “In addition, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports. The Trump Administration and negotiators for both countries clearly understood what was at stake for U.S. wheat farmers and made sure to have our backs in this agreement.”

NAWG President Ben Scholz, far left, flanked by USW President Vince Peterson welcome the signing Oct. 7, 2019, of the U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement at the White House.
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

“NAWG is thrilled to be present during the signing of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement, a major milestone for wheat growers,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We would like to thank staff and leaders at USTR, USDA, and the Administration for working with the wheat industry as this agreement nears the finish line.”

As USW and NAWG noted when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced the tariff agreement last month in New York, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the CPTPP agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.

U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states.




A Good Deal for Wheat Farmers


U.S. - Japan Tariff Agreement is a Good Deal for Wheat Farmers and Their Customers

See Full News Release

Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2019) – The tariff agreement signed today by U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a most welcome deal that will keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a very large and crucial market for U.S. farmers.

“This agreement puts U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia that currently have a tariff advantage under a separate trade deal,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “We applaud the negotiators from both countries who worked very hard to reach an agreement that is so important to wheat farmers and to their flour milling customers in Japan.”

“Resolving trade issues like this and building new opportunities for our wheat and other agricultural products is absolutely needed at a time when wheat farmers are dealing with another year of low prices and a depressed farm economy,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We are very grateful for the efforts that the staff and leaders at USTR and USDA put in to reach this agreement.”

When the tariff agreement is implemented, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.

In addition to matching the Canadian and Australian tariff schedule for U.S. wheat, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports.

In 1949, the Administrator of the Oregon Wheat Commission, Mr. E. J. Bell, and two other wheat representatives first traveled to Japan to learn more about this potential market. Over 70 years, U.S. wheat farmers continued to build a relationship with the Japanese milling and wheat foods processing industry. Today, the industry relies on U.S. soft white wheat to produce the highest quality cakes and pastries, and hard red spring and hard red winter wheat classes to produce dozens of different bread products demanded by Japan’s discerning consumers.

U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states.



VIDEO of PRESS CONFERENCE




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MSU resources, http://bit.ly/MSU-FarmStress
News Clip, http://bit.ly/Farmers-Reach-Out

Neonics and Chlorpyrifos information sheets



Be Road Safe!

To help keep both motorists and farmers safe, the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) Health & Safety Committee offers a video and free brochure with important tips on how to share the road safely with farm equipment. https://oregonfb.org/safety/








Other News

GE Wheat found in Washington unplanted field, NAWG/USW response

NW farmers face ‘crisis, disaster’ in trade war; Video

Leading Agriculture Commodities Oppose Additional Tariffs on Chinese Goods



Podcasts

Washington Grain Commission Podcasts


Related Important Links

OR-OSHA "Fighting farmland and rangeland wildfires" publication

Guide to Farm Trucking in Oregon – ODOT, online version

OSU Extension Cereal Newsletters – online reports by county


Crop Quality Oregon State Reports


Worker Protection Standards

Web-Based Training for Trainers of Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers under the National Worker Protection Standard (WPS) – Train the Trainer course – online, 24/7 training

WPS Compliance Assistance Library – A comprehensive guide with links to FAQ and more.

WPS: A Manual for Trainers of Ag Workers & Pesticide Handlers

PERC website – Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative

“How to Comply” Manual


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