Fearing tightening grain and oilseed carryover levels, the National Grain and Feed Association as urged Ag Secretary Mike Johanns to "seriously consider" measures to make tillable, non-environmentally sensitive acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program more available in 2008.
In a letter to Johanns, NGFA said it conservatively estimates the United States will need to plant at least 4 million to 5 million additional acres of wheat, corn and soybeans in the 2008-09 crop year than were planted this year to avert potentially dangerous supply disruptions for U.S. domestic and export customers. While the United States appears to have "dodged a bullet" with respect to corn stocks this crop year, the NGFA said, the global stocks-to-use ratio for that commodity is expected to decline from 13.8% to 13.3% in 2007-08. USDA also projects that 1.25 billion bushels of additional corn will be required for ethanol production during the 2007-08 crop year, with further growth expected in 2008-09.
Among the options available to Johanns is to allow producers to terminate CRP contracts without penalty. The NGFA encouraged Johanns to act "relatively soon," given the time required for landowners and producers to evaluate whether to remove tillable, non-environmentally sensitive land from the CRP and prepare idled land for planting.