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USDA to allow emergency CRP haying, grazing in drought areas

Agriculture.com Staff 07/14/2006 @ 1:07pm

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner has announced the expansion of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage eligible for emergency haying and grazing due to drought. "Drought conditions have created serious hardships for many farmers and ranchers in the Great Plains and other areas across the country," he said.

Livestock producers in counties approved for haying and grazing in the states of Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming are eligible.

Conner also announced that producers' CRP rental payment will be reduced by only 10% instead of the standard 25% on CRP lands that are grazed in 2006. This reduction will be assessed based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed, times the CRP annual rental rate, times 10%. CRP participants who prepaid the 25% payment reduction will have the difference refunded.

This action will permit approved CRP participants to cut hay or graze livestock on CRP acreage, providing supplemental forage to producers whose pastures have been adversely affected by drought. CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the grazing privilege to an eligible livestock farmer located in an approved county.

The expanded area radiates 150 miles out from any county approved for emergency haying and grazing in any above-mentioned state. Click here for a map of eligible counties. To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level "D3 Drought: Extreme" or greater, or have suffered at least a 40% loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month qualifying period. State FSA committees may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP in counties currently listed as level D3 drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. CRP participants should submit applications with their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices upon approval.

To participate:

Livestock producers in counties approved for emergency haying or grazing assistance may purchase hay or conduct emergency haying and grazing of eligible CRP acreage from CRP participants (in the expanded area) willing to provide hay or haying and grazing.

Livestock producers in counties approved for emergency haying or grazing assistance must certify they are an eligible livestock producer in an eligible county approved for emergency haying and grazing and that they are requesting emergency haying and grazing of eligible CRP acreage from another eligible CRP participant in the expanded area who is willing to provide hay or grazing.

The primary nesting and brood rearing season of the State where the land to be hayed or grazed is located will be respected. For example, a portion of Minnesota is within the 150-mile range of North Dakota counties approved for emergency haying and grazing. Minnesota's nesting season ends August 1. Livestock producers in North Dakota counties approved for emergency haying and grazing and who wish to hay or graze CRP acreage in Minnesota may begin August 2.

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