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USDA expands CRP emergency haying, grazing in drought-stricken states

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Friday announced a measure to provide livestock in drought-affected states with needed additional hay and forage.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage eligible for emergency haying and grazing in Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee has been expanded to include land in an area radiating 210 miles out from all counties previously approved for emergency haying and grazing.

The expansion grazing permits approved CRP participants to cut hay or graze livestock on CRP acreage, providing supplemental forage to producers whose pastures have been negatively affected by drought.

To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level "D3 Drought - Extreme" or greater according to the U.S. Drought Monitor or have suffered at least a 40% loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month qualifying period.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committees may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP land in counties currently listed as level D3 drought CRP participants who want to apply for emergency haying and grazing to their local FSA office must wait until after the nesting season for certain birds.

Only livestock operations located within approved counties are eligible for emergency haying or grazing of CRP acreage. 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. Producers with CRP acreage that is hayed or grazed will be assessed a 10% reduction in their annual rental payment.

Contact your local FSA office for more information.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Friday announced a measure to provide livestock in drought-affected states with needed additional hay and forage.

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