“We continue to do all we can to help thousands of farmers and ranchers in the southwestern United States who are struggling from drought,” Vilsack said. “Many ranchers have been or will be forced to sell livestock due to drought, and USDA will do what we can to help our farmers and ranchers during these challenging times.”
The policy changes influence FSA rules governing emergency grazing. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30, 2011. FSA is permitting farmers and ranchers in drought stricken states who have been approved for emergency grazing, including those in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, to extend the emergency grazing period to Oct. 31, 2011, without an additional payment reduction.
Producers wishing to participate in emergency grazing must first request permission from the FSA county office by indicating the acreage to be grazed.
As a second condition designed to help livestock producers, FSA will allow producers nationwide to utilize harvested hay from expiring CRP acres when those acres are being prepared for fall seeded crops. Prior to this modification, all mechanically harvested hay was required to be destroyed.
For more information about the Conservation Reserve Program and Emergency Haying and Grazing, producers are encouraged to visit their USDA Service Centers or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov. Search under Conservation Programs and Disaster Assistance.