Purchase photos

Emergency haying, grazing approved by USDA

8/5/2013

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday announced it will allow emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program CP25 acreage in order to provide additional relief to Kansas livestock producers still struggling as the historic drought continues.

"As I travel throughout Kansas, I continue to see the devastating impact the ongoing drought is having on producers and communities," Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said. "Western Kansas has not experienced relief from the recent rains in other parts of the state, and farmers and ranchers continue to struggle. USDA's decision to allow haying and grazing on CP25 acreage is welcome news and will provide much-needed relief to livestock operations from exceedingly dry conditions."

Multiple years of historic drought have depleted forage supplies and affected the growth of hay and pasture across Kansas. Kansas has more than 840,000 acres currently enrolled in CP25, the majority of which are within the drought region. Many Kansas livestock producers have worked with Farm Service Agency county directors and used CP25 to enhance environmental benefits. USDA authorized this same land to be used for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, and extreme drought conditions have made the authorization necessary again this year.

Emergency haying is authorized for a single period through Aug. 31. Emergency grazing is authorized for a single period through Sept. 30. In order to use the acreage, the producer must file a request with their local FSA office. The request will then be reviewed and, if approved, a 10 percent reduction in the CRP payment will be taken.

In July, Moran joined U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, calling for emergency haying and grazing of CRP lands to help livestock producers suffering from sustained and critical drought.