House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson is furious with the Farm Service Agency announcement that it will begin to accept continuous Conservation Reserve Program applications starting on June 3 and threatened to sue USDA.
FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said the FSA will not hold a general CRP signup until December. A Grasslands CRP signup will still be held later this year. The Hagstrom Report says Fordyce announced the signups during a House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee hearing.
Peterson said during the hearing that he would block the signup programs, even if he has to file suit against the USDA. Peterson believes that the continuous CRP will take up acreage that will go into the general sign-up. Much of the land that goes into the continuous CRP, which emphasizes improvements in water quality, “does almost zero good for wildlife,” Peterson said.
USDA is using rules under the 2014 Farm Bill for the continuous CRP signup but plans to engage in formal rulemaking for the general signup. Peterson doesn’t understand why USDA can hold one signup under the old rules and engage in rulemaking for the other.