One sticking point in the haggling over the Farm Bill is the Conservation Reserve Program, a federal payout to farmers for converting cropland into grassland. U.S. farmers pulled millions of acres out of the program when corn and soybean prices were soaring in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Congress responded by lowering the national cap on acres in the program by 36 percent over the past 10 years. But now, facing dismal commodity prices ahead of the fall harvest, farmers are looking to put more land back into conservation. “There’s a lot of support for raising the cap,” said Thom Petersen, head of government relations for the Minnesota Farmers Union. “It takes some corn and beans off the market and it’s also good conservation.” Raising the cap may be difficult. Since 2007, Congress has lowered the nationwide cap on acres from 40 million to 24 million. Over that same period the number of acres in the program in Minnesota fell by nearly half, to just over 1 million. “What I’ve been trying to do is figure out how to get more acres,” said Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.With the Farm Bill set to expire… Read full this story
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