John Thune

02/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/24/2020 15:52

USDA Announces Thune-Authored Conservation Pilot Program to Begin in South Dakota, Other Prairie Pothole Region States

Washington -

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency's (FSA's) announcement that the Thune-authored Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) pilot will soon be available to producers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Montana. The sign-up for this pilot program starts March 30, 2020, and ends August 21, 2020.

SHIPP is a voluntary income protection program that would provide participating farmers with a short-term acreage conserving use program, which, unlike the Conservation Reserve Program, would require a commitment of only three to five years. Thune first introduced SHIPP in 2017, and it was included in the 2018 farm bill, which is now law.

'This SHIPP rollout has been a long time in the making, and I'm grateful South Dakota's farmers will soon see its benefits,' said Thune. 'This common-sense program gives farmers a short-term option to conserve acreage while protecting farm income. The three-to-five year commitment will give farmers the flexibility necessary to preserve soil health in today's tough agriculture economy.'

'Each new Farm Bill provides opportunities to develop tools to meet needs of producers with programs, like SHIPP,' said Richard Fordyce, administrator of the FSA. 'We are excited to provide this short-term Conservation Reserve Program pilot, first inspired by feedback from South Dakota producers, to support the unique soil health needs of farmers and ranchers in the Prairie Pothole states.'

'The South Dakota Soil Health Coalition is grateful for the prospective benefits for the land and producers that SHIPP provides,' said Levi Neuharth, chairman of the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition. 'Having a short term contracting option to build soil health on working lands enables farmers an 'every acre counts' approach. SHIPP may help to reach a positive bottom line for producers while building healthier soil. A special thank you to Senator Thune for his efforts seeing SHIPP become reality.'

'The South Dakota Soybean Association is very appreciative of the flexibility, soil and water benefits, and grazing opportunities that SHIPP has to offer,' said Jeff Thompson, president of the South Dakota Soybean Association. 'A special thanks to Senator Thune for his leadership of this program.'

'South Dakota Corn is appreciative of Senator Thune's leadership for providing farmers a common sense approach for working lands that provides another opportunity during this incredible wet cycle we are experiencing,' said Doug Noem, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp or contact your local USDA Service Center office, which can be found here.

Thune recently penned an op-ed on the importance of SHIPP and how it was inspired by feedback he received from the South Dakota agriculture community.