USDA accepts 2.8 million acres for Conservation Reserve Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accepted 2.8 million acres in offers from agricultural producers and private landowners for enrollment into the Conservation Reserve Program in 2021.
This year, almost 1.9 million acres in offers have been accepted through the General CRP Signup, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency has accepted over 897,000 acres for enrollment through the Continuous Signup. The Continuous Signup remains open, and CRP Grasslands Signup recently closed, so USDA expects to enroll more acres into all of CRP than the 3 million acres that are expiring.
“Despite Congress raising the enrollment target in the 2018 Farm Bill, there have been decreases in enrollment for the past two years,” FSA Acting State Executive Director Dan Smeal said in a statement. “The changes we made this spring have put us on the path to reverse this trend.”
PSU researchers studying no-till production
Farmers using no-till production — in which soil never or rarely is plowed or disturbed — can reduce herbicide use and still maintain crop yields by implementing integrated weed-management methods, according to a new study conducted by Penn State researchers.
While no-till agriculture can conserve soil and energy, it relies primarily on herbicides for weed control and to terminate cover crops and perennial crops, said study’s lead author, Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production/ecology. When farmers are no longer using tillage to disrupt weed growth, they typically use more herbicides to control weeds.
“Farmers are particularly reliant on a few common herbicides for no-till production of corn and soybeans, such as glyphosate, which has resulted in the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds that are now very problematic,” she said. “With more than 65% of agronomic crops under no-till production in Pennsylvania, those weeds are spreading, reducing crop yields and becoming very difficult to control.”