The Conservation Reserve Program is 30 years old this year and, on Wednesday, Federal and State conservation leaders came to Ripley County to see 30 years of CRP progress in action. Farm Services Administration Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs Brad Pfaff came out from Washington to Versailles to get a firsthand look at what the CRP programs has accomplished in SE Indiana. He, along with state FSA director Julia Wickard and State Conservationist Jane Hardisty, visited the Bob and Ellen Mulford farm, “It was a wonderful opportunity to walk their farm and see the practices they have put in place.“
First included in the 1985 Farm Bill, the CRP was developed by Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. Pfaff told HAT the program has been a tremendous success in helping farmers improve the environmental impact of their farms, “There is no doubt the CRP program and the practices we offer can really help farmers not only improve their farm, but improve water and soil quality, habitat for pollinators, and prevent wind erosion.”
A strictly voluntary program, CRP continues to be very popular with more land being offered into the program than the current 24 million acre cap allows. Pfaff says the program has a future and a place in the next Farm Bill, “It remains a popular program, and we continue to grow. Agriculture continues to change and farm practices continue to change, but the CRP has also continued to change over the past 30 years.”
In addition to visiting the Mulford farm, the delegation also toured the Marilyn Hance farm located approximately 8 miles south of Versailles.