In a letter delivered yesterday to the Chairmen of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committee, the National Chicken Council and over 70 other organizations and companies urged that “consideration be given to providing flexibility in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) so that we have the ability to respond to market signals and grow adequate grains and oilseeds to provide basic food stuffs to world consumers.” The letter explained that there needs to be a plan of action to not just address the U.S. crop supply issue but rather policies to more adequately address the global challenges of an affordable food supply.

A study conducted by PRXZ/The ProExporter Network accompanied the letter to the Committee Chairmen Senator Deborah Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK). The study concluded that “land expansion,” such as making CRP acres available again for crop production, could be an effective hedge against risks of climate change variability.  Also, the study called the corn supply-demand situation in 2011 “precarious” and globally the impact of weather is more important than the long-term trend of yield growth.  In light of the political situation, the study concluded that American agriculture will not expand unless Congress and the administration “execute policies which are more broadly pro-business, pro-consumer, and pro-export, rather than pro-environmentalist.”

NCC President Mike Brown said “clearly, a significant number of groups believe, as does the National Chicken Council, that a more rationally-sized Conservation Reserve Program can be an important step toward more adequately supplying grain and oilseeds for the heightened demand both at-home and abroad.”  National Grain and Feed Association President Kendell Keith added that “right-sizing the CRP is fundamental if the United States wants to continue to be a major world supplier of agricultural commodities.  Changes are needed to have quality land return to basic crop production.”