Is it time to ‘Make CRP Great Again’?


by David A. Widmar

In May the USDA provided an update on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Media headlines from this announcement were something along the lines of “USDA adds more than 800,000 acres” to program. After digging into the data a bit more, it seemed an alternative headline might be: “CRP Program Declines Continues; 900,000 fewer acres in 2017.”

While we have covered the CRP program trend towards fewer acres in earlier posts (here and here), we continue to find the program’s contraction a bit fascinating; especially given the current financial headwinds for production agriculture. Furthermore, it seems that most are unaware of this policy trend. This week we re-visiting the CRP program and evaluating why efforts to ‘Make CRP Great Again’ may soon be underway.

Continue reading

Waiting for Fewer Crop Acres


by David A. Widmar

The biggest take-away from the USDA’s March projections of 2016 crop acres was, at a high-level, “too many” acres. While this was especially true for corn, it applies more broadly as well. Given slower growth in demand for agricultural commodities and several years of above-trend yields, the U.S. and global commodity markets are signaling that inventories are abundant. In fact, the market has pivoted from “too few” acres (especially after the drought of 2012) to “too many” acres. This week we take a big-picture look at U.S. crop acres. Continue reading

The 10 Million Acre Land Rush



David A. Widmar

Earlier posts have examined the recent expansion of corn acres across the U.S.and what states these acres came from. The results were surprising; nine states accounted for 64% of the additional acres. Furthermore, North Dakota added the most acres, 1.6 million, and had the largest percentage change in acres, an increase of more than 120%.

These results left me wondering how farmers were “finding” acres for an additional 14.1 million acres of corn. After digging through data for a while, my curiosity led me to an interesting trend; more acres of productive farmland.

Continue reading