Modern farming is facing a number of challenges. Tariffs placed on China have resulted in the world’s largest country looking outside of America for crops like soybeans and corn. Most of our major pollinators are rapidly declining in population, threating the $24 billion they contribute to our economy annually. Soil quality is degrading, causing farmers to either overly rely on synthetic fertilizers or abandon entire sections of their land.
Meanwhile, the ag industry is facing increasing criticism for its impact on the environment. Excess tillage breaks down soil structure, increasing erosion while releasing more carbon into the air. Chemicals from pesticides and herbicides used on farmland often end up in local water supplies, resulting in contamination, hypoxia, and more.
On top of all of this, our country’s farmland is actually shrinking even as our population (and need for resources) grows. When farmland does expand, it’s usually at the cost of wildlife habitat and local forests.
Changes on the Horizon
Many are pushing for broad changes across the farming industry. A UN panel recently warned that a failure to address current problems could result in irreversible damage to the environment. Thankfully, countless farmers and ag companies are already taking action to address concerns and improve farming efficiency.
Last year, Cargill announced a massive water saving initiative to reduce water waste and water pollution. Individual farmers are taking similar approaches by utilizing smart irrigation technology and establishing buffer crops to reduce runoff. Additionally, many modern farmers are turning to either no-till farming or at least limiting the tillage that they perform.
Farmers are also being more strategic about how they use synthetic fertilizers. Though fertilizers have been proven to increase crop yields, they quickly turn into a temporary fix for a foundational problem. By focusing on better soil coverage and strategic fertilizer use, farmers are able to achieve substantial yields without harming soil and the surrounding environment.
If a bill is passed that provides farmers with easy access to the carbon market, actions like these could be monetarily incentivized, further encouraging the industry to take more environmentally friendly actions.
Still, none of these initiatives or modern farming techniques address the issues of farmland expansion, habitat loss, or marginal farmland that’s beyond repair. The truth is, there is already a solution for these issues and more. Farmers simply need to take part and reap the benefits.
It’s called the Conservation Reserve Program.
How CRP Benefits the Farming Industry
The idea of the Conservation Reserve Program is relatively simple. In exchange for taking farmland out of active production and establishing native vegetation and wildlife habitat, farmers receive monthly rental payments based on the market value of their land. Additionally, a portion of the cost for this conversion process is covered.
By establishing native vegetation on marginal and underperforming farmland, farmers can restore health to their soil while dramatically reducing erosion, protecting local water supplies, and establishing habitat for pollinators and other local wildlife. Additionally, CRP can boost local hunting, sequester carbon, reduce nitrogen emissions, and more.
CRP is a win-win for everyone, negating most (if not all) of the negative effects farming has on the environment while still allowing for farmers to make a profit on their land. The main hurdle is the fact that the program can be a little confusing to join.
Before you can even join, you’ll need to select a CP and create a plan for operations. Once you’re in the program, you’ll need special seed and special equipment. You’ll also need to document everything to receive your cost share reimbursement. Many find this to be the most difficult part of the entire program.
The good news is, we can help simplify things.
FDCE offers full-service CRP solutions that take care of the entire establishment process. This includes seed selection, planting, herbicide application, documentation, and report submission for cost-share reimbursement. We can also help guide you through the initial CP selection and enrollment. Best of all, thanks to CRP’s cost-share offerings and our advanced understanding of how they work, our services practically pay for themselves.
With FDCE by your side, you can enjoy all of the benefits of CRP with little-to-no work on your end. Safeguard the future of farming. Contact FDCE today and get started on your journey into CRP.