Ag groups support more CRP flexibility to aid in potential global grain shortages

Ag groups are calling on the Biden administration to provide flexibility for prime farmland in the Conservation Reserve Program as the Russian/Ukraine conflict has the potential to impact global food security.

Ag economist Scott Irwin at the University of Illinois tells Brownfield Ukraine produces about 60 million acres of crops which are at risk this growing season.

“The war in Ukraine has put at risk an Iowa and Illinois sized hole in the global grain supplies—now that’s the maximum,” he explains.

He proposed the idea of opening CRP land to meet global supply needs about a month ago saying it opens about five million acres deemed prime farmland.

“Relatively small additions to the supply can have a substantial impact on price, more than you would think—and I think there’s also the moral element,” he shares.

The types of additional crops would depend on where CRP flexibility is granted, but Irwin says countries in the southern hemisphere are most likely to benefit in filling global shortages on the wheat side since their cropping season is ending.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Millers’ Association, Ag Retailers Association and others say if Ukraine is unable to safely plant crops this season there could be a humanitarian crisis across the global food supply chain.

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