The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to attract full enrollment in its Conservation Reserve program, Reuters news agency reported. Currently, 31.2 million acres of farmland are idling as part of the program, 800,000 acres short of the 32 million acres allowed in the Conservation Reserve by law. On September 30, 4.5 million acres will exit the program as their contracts expire.


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said his department intends to launch open enrollment in the program after it completes an environmental impact statement. The program pays farmers an average of $53 per idling acre annually, according to Reuters.