USDA Offers Assistance to Ranchers Impacted by Drought
As severe drought conditions persist in certain regions throughout the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced temporary assistance to livestock producers through FSA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Under limited conditions, farmers and ranchers affected by drought will be allowed to use certain additional CRP acres for haying or grazing under emergency conditions while maintaining safeguards to the conservation and wildlife benefits provided by CRP. In addition, USDA announced that the reduction to CRP annual rental payments related to emergency haying or grazing will be reduced from 25% to 10%. Further, the sale of hay will be allowed under certain conditions. These measures take into consideration the quality losses of the hay and will provide needed assistance to livestock producers.
"Beginning today, state FSA offices are authorized, under limited conditions, to expand opportunities for haying and grazing on certain additional lands enrolled in CRP," said Garcia. "This local approach provides both the appropriate flexibility and ability to tailor safeguards specific to regional conditions. States must adhere to specific guidelines to ensure that additional haying and grazing still maintains the important environmental and wildlife benefits of CRP. These safeguards will be determined through consultation with the state conservationist, state fish and wildlife agency and stakeholders that comprise the state technical committee."
CRP is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource-conserving vegetation on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment. CRP acres enrolled under certain practices can already be used for emergency haying and grazing during natural disasters to provide much-needed feed to livestock. FSA state offices have already opened haying, grazing or both in 432 counties in response to natural disaster this
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