Feds Paid Wyoming Farmers $5.5 Million Not To Farm In 2022

As part of the federal Conservation Reserve Program, the federal government paid Wyoming farmers $5.5 million in 2022 not to farm.

The federal government paid Wyoming farmers $5.5 million in 2022 not to farm certain land plots, a significant leap from the 2021 grant of $3.4 million.  

Industry experts credit changing demands for food and skyrocketing fuel and equipment prices in 2022 for Wyoming farmers’ growing interest in the federal Conservation Reserve Program.  

The program’s goal is to preserve fragile land plots or other environmentally sensitive areas from the rigor of farming by letting farmers receive federal “rent” payments to leave the land alone for a decade. They also get cost-share payments for conservation startup costs, like ground-cover seeds.  

Farmers will sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program if it looks more lucrative than farming. They’ll generally avoid it if they think it will be less lucrative.  

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Costs Up All Over

Commodity prices were up in 2022, which stood to benefit farmers opting to grow and sell, but the cost to operate also shot up.  

Fuel, equipment, seed and chemicals were generally more expensive in 2022 than in 2021, Leslie Lohrenz, Wyoming state statistician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told Cowboy State Daily.  

“I think they kind of continuously went up,” she said. “And that kind of affected everything down the line.”  

Some farmers may also think of the annual grant money as a way to stabilize after the economic chaos of the COVID-19 era, said Lohrenz.  

Annie Bryce, USDA’s farm program chief for Wyoming, told Cowboy State Daily earlier this month that 2021 saw a dip in program payout, which exaggerates the 2022 spike.  

The program doled out $5.1 million to Wyoming farmers in 2020 from January through December.  

The figure dropped to $3.4 million in 2021, with industry experts saying the rising commodity prices that year likely made farmers want to grow products.  

According to experts, the Federal government is using the Silicon Valley banking crisis to usher in central bank digital currency.

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