UNDATED -- Landowners with CRP contracts have a decision to make.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced an offer to voluntarily cancel CRP contracts to let landowners make the best land-use decision in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The USDA estimates that 1.7 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program nationwide will expire next year, including thousands of acres in central Minnesota. The Conservation Reserve Program pays landowners to set aside environmentally sensitive acres.

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Farmers with expiring CRP acres will receive a letter in the next few weeks outlining their options, and farmers who opt out of the program will not have to repay rental payments and will be able to plant a crop after nesting and before October 1st, 2022.

Producers may also qualify for other incentives for environmentally sensitive land and renting land to beginning farmers or farmers who are veterans.

Due to a global food shortage, there is pressure to return CRP acres to farm use to make up for the shortage, especially in wheat. The USDA estimates Ukraine planted over 16 million acres of winter wheat in 2021. Due to the Russian invasion, it is estimated to plant less than half that number in 2022.

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