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USDA announces changes to CRP to assist producers impacted by drought conditions

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John W. McCauley, FSA State Executive Director, reminds Kentucky farmers that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is modifying its Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) policies to help those affected by sustained drought conditions. Throughout this year of extreme weather, USDA has supported and delivered assistance to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the country.
“FSA continues to do everything possible to help farmers and ranchers in the southwestern United States who are struggling from drought. While Kentucky counties have not been affected by sustained drought conditions, the second condition of the policy modification may provide assistance to livestock producers who have CRP contracts expiring in September of 2011,” said McCauley.
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. This change enables livestock producers to feed the hay that is mechanically harvested to their own livestock or to sell or donate hay. Consistent with existing policy for managed or emergency haying and grazing of eligible CRP acres, rental payments will be reduced by 25 percent for those utilizing this option.
For further 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.