Marshall introduces the PASTURE Act
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Dr. Roger Marshall, R-KS, and U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-MN, of Minnesota, introduced The PASTURE (Pandemic Authority Suitable To Utilize Reserve Easements) Act. This is a bipartisan legislation amending the Food Security Act of 1985 to allow for grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land during the pandemic. The bill would give the USDA Secretary more tools to assist livestock owners during times of extreme crisis.
Farmers enrolled in CRP receive an annual rental payment in exchange for agreeing to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production. This is done in order to help improve the environmental health of the land. Contracts run from 10 to 15 years. The program’s goal is to help prevent soil erosion and improve water quality. In addition, the land should support increased wildlife and native grasses.
In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
“Kansas livestock owners were among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19 and they continue to face hurdles as a result of the virus’s impact on all segments of the industry,” Marshall said about the legislation in a release. “I am honored to work with Rep. Craig and Senators Thune and Smith on this much needed legislative fix that will provide another opportunity for relief for our ranchers back home. I will continue to do everything I can to help our farm and ranch families overcome the devastating impacts of the coronavirus so they can continue to produce the highest quality, safest, and most affordable food, fiber, and fuel in the world.”
Senators John Thune, R-SD, and Tina Smith, D-MN, have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.