header picture

(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) In this opinion piece, Bruce I. Knight, a principal at Strategic Conservation Solutions and former Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and former chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, writes, “If we want to continue increasing our successes in agricultural conservation by expanding acreage treated, reducing erosion, upgrading waste management and conserving energy, we need to look at ways to accomplish more with less. Market-based approaches, such as reverse auctions, might help us extend money to support conservation. It’s a strategy I believe Congress should seriously consider for the next farm bill.” Conservation, he notes, will be competing against many other interests in the next farm bill. The limited funding allotted to conservation could be stretched, he says, by holding reverse auctions for both the Conservation Reserve Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. In such an auction, the USDA - instead of letting landowners know the payment rate being offered - asks producers to make the agency an offer for the land they wish to place in CRP or ACEP. Such a strategy, says Knight, could work for both programs, “providing acreage enrolled at a lower cost. And, in some cases, it might provide more opportunity for beginning farmers to rent or purchase good land currently enrolled in CRP at a competitive rate that would enable them to get started or expand.”

Posted December 5th, 2017