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Poultry industry asks USDA for land for grain

Citing this year's "weather-delayed" corn and soybean harvest reducing projected yields and crop quality, which could once again drive up grain prices for meat and poultry producers, more than 100 companies and organizations have sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging modification of rules for USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The letter was submitted by the Alliance for Agricultural Growth and Competitiveness (AAGC) and signed by Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation, among many others. It calls for increased flexibility for producers to remove non-highly environmentally sensitive land prior to CRP contract expiration when crop supply disruptions and growing market demand warrant.

Under current rules, producers wishing to bring CRP land into production prior to contract expiration are required to repay 100% of the CRP rental payments received over the life of their contracts, plus interest and liquidated damages.

The letter asks the USDA to create a new, more flexible long-term framework for the CRP under which the most environmentally sensitive lands would continue to be ineligible for early contract termination.

Additionally, the USDA should lift restrictions on producing crops on other, less environmentally sensitive CRP lands to give producers the option to respond to periods of low supplies, as well as growing and shifting demand "in an intensely competitive global environment".

Source: Meatingplace

Natalie Berkhout

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