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Agricultural News

Soil Health Concept Proposed for Conservation Title of 2018 Farm Bill

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 06:02:40 CST

Soil Health Concept Proposed for Conservation Title of 2018 Farm Bill South Dakota Senator John Thune has unveiled what he is calling the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), the first of many individual farm bill proposals he will introduce over the next few weeks and months. SHIPP is a new voluntary income protection program for farmers that is designed for today’s production agriculture and soil health needs. It would provide participating farmers with a short-term acreage conserving use program, which unlike the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), would require a commitment of only three to five years.

“I’ve written three farm bills during my time in Congress, having served on both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees,” said Thune. “The 2018 farm bill will be my fourth. I know what it takes to get these farm bills across the finish line, and I know the hard-working farmers and ranchers who will be affected once we do. That’s why over the next several weeks, I’ll be rolling out incremental farm bill proposals that will cover most titles of the farm bill.

“The first proposal I’m unveiling would create a new voluntary farm bill program that would provide a short-term option to conserve acreage while protecting farm income. Unlike CRP, which requires a long-term commitment of 10 to 15 years, SHIPP would require only a three-to-five-year commitment. SHIPP would give farmers the flexibility they need to enroll their least productive acreage in this new program in return for a rental payment and additional crop insurance assistance.”

“Sen. Thune’s new farm bill program has the potential to be a helpful tool for farmers in today’s agriculture economy that has been bogged down by low commodity prices and numerous challenges in meeting the cost of production for most crops,” said Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “SHIPP provides a common-sense, voluntary alternative to spending money on expensive seed, fertilizer, and chemicals on our least productive land.”

SHIPP Highlights:

* Participation is voluntary.

* Operator chooses the land to be enrolled in SHIPP on each Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Serial Number (FSN).

* Both the landowner and the operator must sign the SHIPP contract.

* A one-time sign-up will be held, beginning with the first crop year after the next farm bill has been enacted.

* Land is enrolled in SHIPP for three, four, or five years.

* A maximum of 15 percent of the cropland on a FSN may be enrolled in SHIPP, and to be eligible for SHIPP, land must have been planted or considered planted to a commodity crop for three consecutive years prior to enrollment.

* One base acre for each acre enrolled in SHIPP will be suspended and returned to the SHIPP-enrolled farm after a SHIPP contract expires or is terminated.

* Acres must be planted to a low-cost perennial conserving use cover at enrollee’s expense.

* Acres may be harvested for seed after nesting and brood rearing period, but cannot be insured (25 percent reduction in rental payment if harvested for seed).

* Annual SHIPP payment rate shall be one-half of the CRP general sign-up rental per acre rate for the county.

* Premium discount for insured crops planted in a crop insurance unit each year shall be increased by 2 percent if the unit contains acres enrolled in SHIPP. 

* SHIPP acres may be hayed or grazed outside the nesting and brood-rearing period established for the county, with adequate stubble height left standing to protect the soil, as determined by the State Technical Committee.

At the outset, socially disadvantaged and military veteran SHIPP enrollees would receive 75 percent of the CRP general sign-up rental rate, a three percent increase in crop insurance premium discounts, and no deduction in payment for harvesting grass seed on acres enrolled in SHIPP.



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