Should We Pay Farmers Not to Grow Crops? Essay

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Should We Pay Farmers Not to Grow Crops?

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established under the Conservation Title of the 1985 Food Security Act and is still in place today. This program which intended to assist with possible environmental problems is one that is beneficial to the farmers and our country's environment and therefore should stay in effect. However, it should be examined how this program is being conducted to ensure that the original objectives are being met today and with maximum efficiency.

When the CRP was established in 1985 as a voluntary acreage retirement program, there were seven stated objectives that were introduced as well. 'The stated objectives of the CRP are to (a) reduce water and wind
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Currently, there are 34 million acres of land that have been retired under the Conservation Reserve Program. The payment going to the farmers who own the acreage total $1.66 billion (Hoag and Holloway 187). Other benefits of the program include the estimated CRP wildlife benefits of $428 million dollars per year and the annual soil erosion reduction at an estimated 25 tons (Boggess and Reichelderfer 114). Looking at these numbers it is apparent that the real question is not should we pay farmers not to farm. The answer to that question is yes, by continuing CRP the government is helping the farmer and the environment. The real question is: are we using the Conservation Reserve Program to its fullest potential. No, we are not.

The first flaw in the CRP is the fact that the government could accomplish the exact same goals and objectives with less money. When the program was originally established ?Congress mandated that the CRP be run as an auction; a farmer submits a bid to the government specifying the number of acres and the price per acre desired. Subsequently, the government notifies the farmer if the bid is accepted? (Smith 52). The thought behind this system was that farmers would place competitive bids to ensure that their acreage became a part of the program. However, the pay out for the CRP is not an auction system as originally designed; instead it is an offer system. Under the offer system, farmers in each region are offered a single price and can retire

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