USDA to allow producers to request voluntary termination of Conservation Reserve Program contract

USDA has announced it will allow a one-time, early contract termination for producers in the final year of their Conservation Reserve Program contracts. Those producers can voluntarily request to start destroying CRP vegetation before the Sept. 30 expiration of the CRP contract, which will allow them to better prepare for seeding fall 2022 crops and thus responding to the current global commodity situation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Typically, landowners enrolled in CRP would have to repay all previous CRP payments with interest and liquidated damages if they terminated early. FSA’s recent change would eliminate those penalties in 2022 for approved producers on land that is expiring. FSA will approve requests for termination following the end of the Primary Nesting Season in which the contract acreage is located. Producers will then be able to hay, graze, begin land preparation activities and plant a fall-seeded crop before Oct. 1, 2022. 

Growers interested in requesting early contract termination may consider that more than three-quarters of CRP is estimated to be non-prime farmland, and that CRP acres require intensive management and are rarely profitable in their first year of production. We encourage soybean farmers to consider soil types and characteristics as well as input costs and commodity prices when deciding whether to farm former CRP acres. 

Prior to CRP contracts ending, farmers should also visit FSA and review the current crop acreage base reinstatement provisions and check with FSA or NRCS to see whether the land is subject to conservation or wetland compliance provisions.

While there are only 1.7 million CRP acres expiring and not re-enrolling, the additional flexibility is welcome. This action has been suggested to USDA by grower groups to better enable producers to get fall planted crops in the ground on expiring CRP acres.

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