Many farmers are asking the government to let them out of Conservation Reserve Program contracts early without penalty due to soaring crop prices that are taking food prices higher as well. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer has already said that will not happen this crop year and for 2009 they are taking it under advisement.
"A lot of people say let's farm that land that will put some downward pressure on prices," Schafer says. "People do believe you can start to lower the price by producing more off that land. We're not so sure about that."
CRP is designed for long-term protection of marginally productive land according to Schafer as well as water and wildlife. Because of these issues, early release is a very complex decision with several factors that need to be carefully considered.