Crop Production on Conservation Reserve Program Land Threatens Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental Conservation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Opening Conservation Reserve Program land to emergency crop production threatens biodiversity and years of investment in environmental restoration. The Conservation Reserve Program protects more than 20 million acres of land that, while mostly marginal for agricultural production, provide significant environmental benefits, are vital to wildlife habitat, increase carbon sequestered in the soil and improve water quality by reducing erosion and runoff.

“The National Wildlife Federation supports the Conservation Reserve Program because it works for producers, downstream communities and wildlife. Opening these marginal lands to temporary crop production would add little to our grain supplies but leave huge costs to taxpayers, climate, water and wildlife,” said Julie Sibbing, associate vice president for land stewardship.

Conservation Reserve Program land is typically 60 to 70 percent less productive than prolific agriculture land. By removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production, soil vitality improves and rapidly increases biodiversity throughout the contract’s lifetime. Opening this land to emergency crop production is wrought with uncertainties, cost concerns and negative impacts that could take years and significant taxpayer funding to correct. 


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