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FSA to issue $1.7B in CRP annual rental payments

WILLMAR -- During October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency will issue $1.7 billion in annual rental payments for 33.6 million acres of farmland enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.

Included in the 33.6 million acres are 4.1 million acres of high-priority conservation practices that were enrolled under the continuous sign-up provisions. Filter strips, riparian buffers and wetland restorations are examples of high-priority conservation practices that can be automatically enrolled without having to wait for an announced general signup period.

Farm Service Agency offices in Minnesota will issue nearly $107 million in annual rental payments for the state's 60,894 Conservation Reserve Program contracts.

In terms of total acres enrolled, Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation with 1.68 million acres. Texas leads all states with 3.85 million acres. Other leading states include: Montana -- 3.21 million; Kansas -- 3.10 million; North Dakota -- 2.86 million; Colorado -- 2.41 million; and Iowa -- 1.68 million.

Locally, the Conservation Reserve Program would have to be considered the premier voluntary conservation program. Within an eight-county local area, there are 211,197 acres enrolled, generating $17.98 million in annual rental payments.

Kandiyohi County has the most acres enrolled locally with 39,892 acres. The number of acres enrolled in other local counties include: Pope -- 38,194; Swift -- 35,877; Stearns -- 29,764; Yellow Medicine -- 22,091; Meeker -- 16,857; Chippewa -- 14,935; and Renville -- 13,585.

The annual rental rate of land enrolled can vary greatly within a county. Likewise, rental rates will vary between counties, reflecting the wide range of cash rents within our local area.

The county average per acre rental rate of land enrolled locally in the Conservation Reserve Program is: Renville -- $121.40; Chippewa -- $112.58; Kandiyohi -- $94.17; Yellow Medicine -- $91.16; Swift -- $86.41; Meeker -- $82.36; Stearns -- $66.87; and Pope -- $62.99.

Under the Conservation Reserve Program, landowners or operators voluntarily retire environmentally sensitive farmland for a period of 10 to 15 years in return for an annual rental payment.

USDA announces sugar loan rates

The USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation recently announced that the national average loan rates for 2009-crop sugar will be increased from last year's levels.

The loan rate for refined beet sugar will be 23.45 cents per pound, up from 22.90 cents in 2008. Also announced was that the loan rate for raw cane sugar will be 18.25 cents per pound, up from 18 cents for 2008.

The national loan rates are then adjusted to reflect transportation cost differentials to determine regional loan rates.

The 2009-crop refined beet sugar loan rate for Minnesota and the eastern half of North Dakota will be 23.41 cents per pound, up from 22.88 cents for the 2008 crop.

Under USDA's sugar loan program, local Farm Service Agency offices provide nonrecourse loans to processors of sugar beets and domestically grown sugarcane. The loans are nonrecourse as the commodity is pledged as loan collateral and processors have the option of delivering the commodity to the Commodity Credit Corporation as full repayment at loan maturity.

Sugar beet and sugarcane processors who receive the loans are required to make minimum grower payments for all sugar beets and sugarcane received from growers.

Sugar beet grower minimum payments are equal to the amount specified in the grower/processor contract.

Corn supplies up 9 percent, soybeans down 33 percent

According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota's supply of old-crop corn totaled 172 million bushels on Sept. 1, up 9 percent from a year ago. On-farm corn supplies accounted for 46 percent of the total or about 80 million bushels.

Old-crop soybean supplies in Minnesota totaled 14.2 million bushels on Sept. 1, down 33 percent from one year ago. On-farm soybean supplies accounted for 27 percent of the total or 3.8 million bushels. This is the lowest on-farm supply level since 1977.

Minnesota wheat supplies totaled 104 million bushels on Sept. 1, up 7 percent from a year ago. On-farm supplies accounted for 81 percent of the total or about 84 million bushels.

USDA Service Centers are closed Oct. 12

All USDA Service Centers will be closed Monday in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.