The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced changes for emergency haying and grazing of acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
This includes changes outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill that streamlines the authorization process for farmers and ranchers.
“FSA authorizes emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres
under certain conditions to provide emergency relief to livestock producers in times of severe drought or similar natural disasters,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce.
“These program changes will simplify the authorization process with an automatic trigger by severe drought designation, allowing livestock producers to quickly access much-needed forage.
Previously emergency haying and grazing requests originated with FSA at the county level and required state and national level approval.
Now approval will be based on drought severity as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
To date, 500 counties nationwide have triggered eligibility for emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres. A list by state and map of eligible counties is updated weekly and available on FSA’s website.
Producers located in a county that is designated as severe drought (D2) or greater on or after the last day of the primary nesting season are eligible for emergency haying and grazing on all eligible acres. Additionally, producers located in counties that were in a severe drought (D2) status any single week during the last eight weeks of the primary nesting season may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing unless the FSA County Committee determines that forage conditions no longer warrant emergency haying and grazing.
Emergency grazing is authorized for up to 90 days and emergency haying is authorized for up to 60 days.
Counties that trigger for Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments based on the U.S. Drought Monitor may hay only certain practices on less than 50% of eligible contract acres. Producers should contact their local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.
Counties that don’t meet the drought monitor qualifications but have a 40% loss of forage production may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing outside of the primary nesting season.
Program participants must stop haying and grazing 30 days before the first freeze date in the fall based on the dates established for LFP.