Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

CRP Emergency Grazing deadline extended to Nov. 30

By Ryan Castle

Date Modified: 10/10/2012 3:46 PM

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program 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.

Vilsack also designated 147 additional counties in 14 states as natural disaster areas — 128 counties in 10 states due to drought. In the past seven weeks, USDA has designated 1,892 unduplicated counties in 38 states as disaster areas — 1,820 due to drought, while USDA officials have fanned out to more than a dozen drought-affected states as part of a total U.S. government effort to offer support and assistance to those in need.

To assist producers, USDA is permitting farmers and ranchers in drought stricken states that have been approved for emergency grazing to extend grazing on CRP land through Nov. 30, 2012, without incurring an additional CRP rental payment reduction. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30.

The extension applies to general CRP practices and producers must submit a request to their Farm Service Agency county office indicating the acreage to be grazed. USDA's continuing efforts to add feed to the marketplace benefits all livestock producers, including dairy, during this drought. Expanded haying and grazing on CRP acres, along with usage of cover crops as outlined last week by the secretary, has begun providing much needed feed to benefit all livestock, including dairy.