AMES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the government will accept 1.7 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program under the general sign-up for the current year.
Speaking in Ames at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s 2013 Economic Summit Monday, Vilsack says USDA has more than 26.9 million acres enrolled nationally. That’s down from a high of more than 36 million acres in 2007. The decline is partially due to the increased value of corn and soybeans. It many instances it’s more lucrative to rent out land for crops that to collect the CRP payment.
Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says the USDA received 28,000 offers from farmers willing to voluntarily set aside land for soil, water, and wildlife conservation.
The USDA pays landowners about $2 billion a year for the program.