WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan 28, 2014) – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended the leadership of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for including important reforms to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the final version of the 2014 farm bill.
The NGFA also praised the decision to decouple farm income safety net programs from actual planted acres.
The joint House-Senate conference committee version of the farm bill unveiled Jan. 27 would reduce the maximum cap of the CRP to 24 million acres over five years – down from the 32 million acre ceiling in the current farm law. Further, the bill includes an NGFA-supported provision that will allow CRP contract holders to cancel their existing contracts in fiscal year 2015 without penalty, provided the land has been enrolled in the CRP for at least five years and meets certain requirements.
In addition, the bill would predicate farm program payments under both revenue-assurance and target-price programs on base acres, rather than actual planted acres – another key NGFA policy priority.
“We are very pleased that the version of the bill put forward by the joint House-Senate conference committee includes these two major priorities our Association had when these deliberations began,” said NGFA President Randall C. Gordon.
Concerning commodity programs, the NGFA had urged congressional conferees to decouple farm income safety net programs from actual plantings to avoid exposing the United States to potential trade challenges under the World Trade Organization, as well as to reduce the potential for influencing producers’ planting decisions in ways that are inconsistent with market demand.
“The NGFA has a long history of advocating that farm income support programs be as market-oriented as possible and conform with our nation’s international trade commitments,” Gordon said. “With commodity income support programs being linked to base acres, rather than actual planted acres, we believe the conferees made a good and judicious decision.”
Concerning the CRP, Gordon said the NGFA believed strongly that right-sizing the program and providing an opportunity for productive farmland to exit will further enhance the focus on protecting the most environmentally sensitive land. “Doing so also will benefit economic growth in rural communities, help new and younger producers access land to start their farming operations, and help the United States meet growing domestic and world demand for food, feed, biofuels and exports,” Gordon said.
Established in 1898, the NGFA is a U.S.-based non-profit trade association that consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing and grain-related companies that operate approximately 7,000 facilities that store, handle, merchandise, mill, process and export about 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. Also affiliated with the NGFA are 26 state and regional grain and feed associations.