Thune urges USDA to allocate additional SAFE CRP acres for South Dakota

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase acreage allocations for SAFE, a continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) initiative, to the maximum extent possible in South Dakota and other states with SAFE allocations at or near 100 percent enrolled. Boosting SAFE acres will help ensure the CRP does not fall substantially below the 2014 farm bill’s allowable acreage caps.

USDA developed the South Dakota Pheasants SAFE initiative to provide habitat for species of economic significance, like the ring-necked pheasant in South Dakota, which provides more than $220 million annually to the state’s economy. SAFE also provides farmers with an alternative to placing expensive inputs and growing crops on marginal lands.

“One of the most effective approaches to encourage additional CRP enrollment, in addition to a general CRP signup I requested and you announced would be held beginning December 1, would be for USDA to immediately increase SAFE allocations,” Thune wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “SAFE has been a popular and effective continuous signup CRP initiative in South Dakota as well as other states. I strongly encourage you to consider increasing SAFE allocations to the maximum extent possible in all states in which SAFE initiatives are at or near 100 percent enrolled.”