Twenty six Congressmen urged President Obama in a letter earlier this month to take action to allow more acres of cropland to be planted to grains, oilseeds, and other crops to help curtail the likelihood of more severe grain shortages and to dampen further increases in food prices.  Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA, 21st District) and 25 of his congressional colleagues explained that contract holders in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) who are willing and who have non-environmentally-sensitive cropland should be permitted to opt out of the program prior to the expiration date of their multi-year contracts.  “Americans deserve a government that plans for the future.  That means responding to threats of grain shortages, not just predicting them.  Releasing some land from CRP contracts will provide an infusion of additional production that is desperately needed.  It’s a decision the President can make and one he should act upon as quickly as possible,” said Congressman Nunes.

The letter to the president said that of the 32 million acres in the CRP a “significant amount” of this acreage is good, arable acres that could be cropped with very little or no impact on the environment.  To prevent a crisis, USDA must act to provide immediate relief to the distressed market by releasing CRP land as appropriate to produce again, the letter stated.

In addition to Congressman Nunes, others that signed the letter were:

  • Brian Bilbray (R-CA, 50th District)
  • Ken Calvert (R-CA, 44th District)
  • Eric Crawford (R-AR, 1st District)
  • Jeff Denham (R-CA, 19th District)
  • Trent Franks (R-AZ, 2nd District)
  • Tom Graves (R-GA, 9th District)
  • Sam Graves (R-MO, 6th District)
  • Tim Griffin (R-AR, 2nd District)
  • Wally Herger (R-CA, 2nd District)
  • Duncan Hunter (R-CA, 52nd District)
  • Darrell Issa (R-CA, 49th District)
  • Walter Jones (R-NC, 3rd District)
  • Mike Kelly (R-PA, 3rd District)
  • Daniel Lungren (R-CA, 3rd District)
  • Kenny Marchant (R-TX, 24th District
  • Tom Marino (R-PA, 10th District)
  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, 22nd District)
  • Tom McCintock (R-CA, 4th District)
  • “Buck” McKeon (R-CA, 25th District)
  • Reid Ribble (R-WI, 8th District)
  • Ed Royce (R-CA, 40th District)
  • Bill Shuster (R-PA, 9th District)
  • John Sullivan (R-OK, 1st District)
  • Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA, 3rd District)
  • Steve Womack (R-AR, 3rd District)