Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, freeing up forage and feed for ranchers as they look to recover from this challenging time. This flexibility for ranchers marks the latest action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide assistance to producers impacted by the drought, which has included opening CRP and other conservation acres to emergency haying and grazing, lowering the interest rate for emergency loans, and working with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers.
COLUMBUS – Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Maurer announced additional drought relief for Ohio’s livestock producers today. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack authorized the release of emergency haying and grazing lands for all Ohio counties for certain practices and acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
USDA will allow acres under CRP to be used for haying or grazing under emergency conditions. This will allow lands that are not yet classified as “under severe drought” but that are “abnormally dry” to be used for haying and grazing. This will increase available forage for livestock.
Under emergency haying at least fifty percent of each field or contiguous fields must be left unhayed for wildlife. Under emergency grazing at least twenty-five percent of each field or contiguous CRP fields must be left ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than seventy-five percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.
Under emergency haying and grazing CRP participants will be assessed a payment reduction based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed times the CRP annual rental payment times ten percent.
Participants may sell hay harvested under emergency provisions. CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock producer.
CRP is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment.
Producers must notify their local FSA office and file a request and receive approval before starting this emergency haying and grazing activity.