R-CALF USA is asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider opening up the 24 million acres of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program to emergency grazing.
The group says it would help to alleviate the backlog in the live cattle supply chain caused by COVID-19, which has reduced overall slaughter capacity. “The fed cattle backup requires the entire upstream live cattle supply chain to hold lighter-weight cattle out of the feedlot sector of the supply chain until the current backlog of cattle can be processed,” says R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard in the Hagstrom Report. “To hold these lighter-weight cattle back, more grazing land than normal is needed to maintain their health and measured growth.”
He points out that some areas in rural America are experiencing drought conditions, which means the industry is faced with a greater need for more grazing land than normal. “At the same time, some grazing lands are producing less forage than normal because of the drought,” Bullard adds. “An immediate solution to this challenge is to open CRP lands to emergency grazing and making accommodations so non-CRP landowners can rent CRP land from others for a reasonable fee.”