Farm groups support greater flexibility in the conservation reserve program to help with a possible global grain shortage
Farm groups are calling on the Biden administration to provide flexibility for prime farmland in the conservation reserve program, as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has the potential to impact global food security.
Agricultural economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois said Brownfield Ukraine is producing about 60 million acres of crops that are at risk this growing season.
“The war in Ukraine has endangered a hole the size of Iowa and Illinois in the world’s grain supply – now it’s peaked,” he says.
He proposed about a month ago the idea of opening up CRP land to meet global supply needs, saying he was opening up about five million acres considered prime farmland.
“Relatively small additions to the supply can have a substantial impact on the price, more than you might think – and I think there is also the moral element,” he shares.
The additional crop types would depend on where CRP flexibility is granted, but Irwin says countries in the southern hemisphere are most likely to benefit from reduced global wheat shortages as their growing season ends. .
The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Millers’ Association, Ag Retailers Association and others say that if Ukraine is unable to plant crops safely this season, there could be a humanitarian crisis in the global food supply chain.