The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) submitted comments to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) on the long-term policy of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

In a letter, Woody Anderson, NCC chairman, commented that the CRP program “has provided significant environmental benefits across the nation, primarily by providing wildlife habitat, improving stream quality and reducing soil erosion. CRP has been a tremendous asset to producers who have environmentally sensitive land.”

Anderson recognizes that there are challenges in the coming years. He notes that CRP contracts for more than 38.7 million acres of land are scheduled to expire between Sept. 30, 2007 and 2010. He says that the NCC generally recommends the current CRP components continue, since they appear to be working for landowners.

“Policies such as continuous sign-up have been well-received by landowners in many parts of the Cotton Belt and have complemented overall farm conservation plans.

This procedure allows more flexibility in implementing conservation practices. The use of incentive payments is also a practice that should continue to be utilized in future CRP policy. The use of CRP in some areas of the country is contingent on these incentives,” Anderson notes.

To read the complete letter from the NCC to FSA, visit www.cotton.org/gov/128crpcomments.cfm.