Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statements after the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, by a large, bipartisan vote of 36-10.
Agriculture Committee Passes CRP Fix For Fall-Planted Crops, Chairman Smith Seeks Quick House Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 1997
AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE PASSES CRP FIX FOR FALL-PLANTED CROPS, CHAIRMAN SMITH SEEKS QUICK HOUSE ACTION
WASHINGTON, D.C. - HEEDING THE CONCERNS OF THOUSANDS OF FARMERS, THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE TODAY OVERWHELMINGLY PASSED LEGISLATION PROVIDING A ONE-YEAR BRIDGE CONTRACT FOR FARMERS WHOSE CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP) CONTRACTS ARE EXPIRING, AND FOR WHOM THE UNCERTAINTY OF ENROLLMENT IN CRP HAS LIMITED FALL PLANTING FLEXIBILITY.
Audio tape of Chairman Smith's opening statement at the Committee's business meeting today can be obtained by calling (202) 226-3977.
The bill, H.R. 1342, which was introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-OR), allows farmers, whose CRP contracts are expiring in September and who would in the absence of CRP produce a fall-planted crop, to enter into a one-year contract while the U.S. Department of Agriculture evaluates their CRP bid. If the farmer's land is ultimately accepted into CRP, the contract would automatically convert to a standard ten-year contract; if the land is rejected, it would come out of CRP after the one-year contract's end which could be re-bid in a subsequent signup.
"This bill is not an extension. It is a technical correction that will allow farmers to know now that they can be in the CRP for the coming crop year. If the Secretary awards them a new ten-year contract, then they would be taken care of. If not, then they would be out of the program after the coming year and their CRP acres would return to the pool to be awarded to someone else. It's only fair to provide certainty for those farmers who, through no fault of their own, have such little planting flexibility. Our job now is to act quickly, get this bill on the House floor, and keep the process moving," Smith said.
Under CRP, which was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, landowners enter into contracts with the USDA to place highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive cropland in long-term conservation practices for 10-15 years. In exchange, landowners receive annual rental payments for the land and cost-share assistance for establishing those practices. Of 32.9 million acres currently enrolled nationwide, some 22 million acres are expiring September 30.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District, which includes most of eastern, central, and southern Oregon, in the U.S. House of Representatives.