USDA Offers Further Assistance to Ranchers Impacted by Drought

With certain regions of the country still facing severe drought conditions - USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan Garcia has announced temporary assistance for livestock producers through the Conservation Reserve Program. Under limited conditions - those farmers and ranchers affected by drought will be able 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. USDA has also announced that the reduction to CRP annual rental payments related to emergency haying or grazing will be reduced from 25-percent to 10-percent and the sale of hay will be allowed under certain conditions. Garcia says state FSA offices are authorized to expand opportunities for haying and grazing on certain additional lands enrolled in CRP. He says this local approach provides the appropriate flexibility and ability to tailor safeguards specific to regional conditions.

Due to the continued multi-year drought in some regions - forage for livestock is substantially reduced. USDA's action will allow lands that are not typically eligible for emergency haying and grazing to be used with appropriate protections to maintain the CRP environmental and wildlife benefits. This expanded haying and grazing will only be allowed following the local primary nesting season - which has already passed in many areas.

FSA encourages all farmers and ranchers to contact their local Farm Service Agency Service Center to report damage to crops or livestock loss. USDA also reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses - including additional expenses for such things as feed purchased due to lost supplies. More information is available online at www dot fsa dot usda dot gov slash crp (www.fsa.usda.gov/crp).

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