Louisiana Conservation and Commodity Updates- January 2021 - Issue-1

Naveen Adusumilli, Connor, Lawson, Wang, Hua

CFAP Payments - CRS Report

Row crop producers received 46% of the CFAP-2 payments, while livestock producers received 27% of the payments. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) report poses several questions to the policymakers. Among them is whether the authority under which the CFAP payments were made can serve as a template for future disaster assistance programs. On the program evaluation side, the report points out that the damage period is ambiguous. As payments are based on 2020 planted acres, the losses from a decline in prices could have made some producers eligible for payment distributions. Nevertheless, addressing those concerns and using it as a template for future disaster assistance programs could be a good start. The CFAP-2 payments by category are shown below

CRP 2021 - Increased Payment Rates

CRP general signup period is from Jan. 4, 2021, through Feb. 12, 2021, with the effective data of Oct. 1, 2021. The USDA is increasing incentive payments associated with Continuous CRP. Payment rates that used to sit at 5% are now increased to 20%. Additionally, a 10% incentive payment is in effect for water quality practices on land enrolled in CRP continuous signup.

FSA accepting QLA Applications

USDA Farm Service Agency is accepting Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) applications from Jan. 6, 2021, through Mar. 5, 2021. The program aids producers whose eligible crops suffered quality loss from qualifying natural disasters. The current applications cover the quality loss that occurred in the years 2018 and 2019.

Grasslands and Greenhouse gases

A new study published in Nature Communications reports that the world's grasslands, which were net positive, are now net neutral in greenhouse gases (GHGs), i.e., the amount of greenhouse gases sequestered is equal to the amount released from grasslands. This change is attributed to the conversion of grasslands to pasture for livestock coupled with fertilizer application. The authors advocate for climate-smart livestock production systems. In a separate report, the USDA estimated that global grasslands, if managed efficiently, could sequester more than 3-gigatons of GHGs per year. The takeaway is that the livestock industry can play a crucial role in climate change mitigation dialogue.

Similarly, there is a strong interest in creating a voluntary climate exchange for farmers and ranchers through a potential Carbon Bank, as indicated by the Senate Agriculture Committee's likely chair, Debbie Stabenow.

Feral SWINE Eradication Program

NRCS obligated more than $16.7 million for 20 feral swine pilot projects in ten states in the first round of funding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $11.65 million in 14 projects as part of the program's second round. The projects now cover 12 states within the 2018 Farm Bill, which allocated $75 million for the program.

National Estuarine Research Reserve Site

Louisiana has begun its search for a site that could serve as a National Estuary Research Reserve (NERR). The NERR system comprises 29 designated estuaries representing the distinct estuary types found across the nation for long-term research, education, and restoration. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides funding and guidance, and each site is managed daily by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners.

FSA additional Assistance Allowed

The Louisiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) extends the deadline to apply for assistance for hurricane Laura areas. Producers in eligible parishes can apply for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) whenever damages from hurricane Laura has occurred. The ECP is intended to restore farmland to pre-Laura conditions, with up to 75% of approved restoration activity being covered under the program. EFRP provides payments to eligible nonindustrial private forest landowners to assist in undertaking emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. The application deadline for each program has been extended to Feb. 8, 2021.

Restoring 88-acre to Island's Footprint

Funded with settlement money from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a $16.4 million restoration project has begun on Rabbit Island, the only Brown Pelican colony in Southwest Louisiana. Native grasses and shrubs will be planted to improve the habitat for pelicans, terns, and other colonial nesting waterbirds. The project is scheduled to be completed before nesting season begins in 2021.

Questions and comments: Dr. Naveen Adusumilli; 318-884-0514 (m); nadusumilli@agcenter.lsu.edu; Dr. Lawson Connor; lconnor@agcenter.lsu.edu;Dr. Hua Wang; hwang@lsu.edu; Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.

1/21/2021 12:21:43 PM
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