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Drought Opens Up Usage of CRP

Published July 25, 2012 @ 6 a.m.

Garza-Borden County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Victor Ashley announced on July 23 that in response to drought conditions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak authorized emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

"The 2012 CRP emergency haying period ends on August 31, 2012, and the emergency grazing period ends on September 30, 2012," said Ashley.  "CRP land previously hayed or grazed, either managed or emergency use, during the previous 12 months is excluded from the FY 2012 haying and grazing authorization," he said.

Secretary Vilsak announced that because of the current severe drought, all counties with a drought level of D0 or higher, as measured by the US Drought Monitor, are approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP.  Participants may sell hay harvested under this authority.  Borden and Garza Counties are approved for haying and grazing of CRP under these provisions.

The FY 2012 CRP emergency authorization permits haying and grazing. Additionally, there will be a 10 percent CRP payment reduction on the 2012 annual payment for CRP acres used for haying and grazing under these emergency provisions.

To take advantage of the emergency haying and grazing provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to the acreage located within the approved counties.

Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval to hay or graze eligible acreage; obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include haying or grazing requirements, leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field unhayed or ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.

For more information on emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres contact the Garza-Borden County FSA office at 806-495-2801.

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