Concerns raised about CRP funding

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Sep 27, 2004
by WLJ
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, last week urged USDA to offer more technical assistance for producers willing to use their land for conservation practices. In a letter to USDA Secretary Ann Veneman, Feingold wrote that because of the administration's decision to not reimburse Natural Resource Conservation Service staff, who assist producers in making decisions when signing up for the Conservation Reserve Program, some Wisconsinites feel that they are not receiving adequate assistance with the complicated CRP contract process.
CRP, which has been highly successful in Wisconsin, helps protect environmentally-sensitive land by paying farmers and landowners to remove it from agricultural production and establish conservation practices on it instead.
"Without the necessary assistance, many Wisconsin farmers and landowners could potentially be short-changed when signing their contracts," Feingold said. "With CRP contracts often lasting for over a decade, it is vital for eligible producers to be able to understand what is in their contract and their obligations when they sign it."
CRP is a voluntary program that offers participants technical and financial assistance to establish conservation practices to reduce erosion, restore natural resources, and improve wildlife habitat. In many areas where CRP has been instituted, water quality has improved and wildlife habitat has flourished, providing benefits to farmers, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. More than 623,000 acres in Wisconsin and more than 34 million acres nationally are enrolled in CRP.