USDA announced this week it will accept 1.7 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) following the most recent general sign-up. The Department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land; currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts. USDA said CRP remains popular and beneficial to the environment, reducing nitrogen and phosphorous losses from farm fields by 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds respectively in 2012 alone. Currently, CRP is authorized for up to 32 million acres. This will almost certainly be reduced in the next farm bill, however, with the Senate-passed version of the farm bill calling for 25 million acres in the program, and the House-passed, farm-only farm bill calling for 24 million acres. More about the program is at