It took a lot of political wrangling to get the 2018 Farm Bill passed through both houses of Congress, late last year. One of the most watched parts of the bill was the changes to conservation. Then House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN 7th) worked to get reforms to the Conservation Title, and now as the Chairman of the Committee, he is not happy with how it is being handled.
As the implementation process of the 2018 Farm bill is being handled, a new monkey wrench has been thrown into the mix. Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce announced the FSA will begin to accept Conservation Reserve Program applications starting on June 3 from farmers who engage in certain practices. The agency will also offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. Fordyce also says the FSA will not hold a general CRP signup until December. A Grasslands CRP signup will still be held later this year.
This was not the news House Ag Chairman Peterson wanted to hear. In fact, he got this news not long before he addressed farm broadcasters at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s “Washington Watch” event at the Capitol. Chairman Peterson said he gave Administrator Fordyce a very direct message that he [Peterson] was not going to let FSA get away with it.
Peterson says there has been a push to get FSA to start the signups, but they had been told FSA was waiting for the new regulations. Peterson is now baffled as to why they are going ahead with the old regulations which will end up in about double the costs of the new law.
Chairman Peterson says he will not stand for this. He plans to fight the FSA, even if he must do it in the courts.