Earlier this month, USDA Secretary Schafer announced that the USDA will be releasing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for livestock grazing in counties recently designated as disaster areas because of flooding. Secretary Schafer released this acreage on the condition that the USDA will “redouble our conservation effort at every future opportunity.”
The American Bakers Association (ABA) continues to call for early release of CRP acreage and urges that more action is needed. “ABA strongly urges the USDA and the Bush administration to take immediate action to help alleviate the food and commodity crisis,” said ABA President and C.E.O. Robb MacKie in a press release statement. “Due to the recent flooding in the Midwest, most commodity prices, including wheat, are experiencing record highs. Opening up CRP land for grazing, while a step in the right direction, simply is not enough to have any beneficial impact on high food prices.”
“Increased demand on our food supply from food to fuel mandates and global needs will continue to pressure food prices now and into the future,” added ABA Chairman Chip Klosterman, president of Klosterman Bakery, Cincinnati.
According to ABA, bakers from across the country have sent more than 550 letters to the USDA urging immediate action. “I encourage bakers to continue to pressure the USDA to take action and release acreage in the CRP for farming. Releasing CRP land in flooded disaster areas is not enough to slow the alarming trend of rising food and commodity prices,” said Cory Martin, ABA federal government relations manager and commodity task force liaison.