U.S. Department of Agricul?ture?s Farm Service Agency in Kansas announced Monday that FSA is modifying its Conserva?tion Reserve Program policies to help those affected by sustained drought conditions.
?While some areas of Kansas have received much-needed moisture over the last two days, many areas of Kansas are still experiencing extreme drought conditions that are causing crop failure and the dispersal of livestock herds, said Adrian J. Polansky, the state?s FSA executive director.
?Many ranchers have been, or will be, forced to sell livestock due to drought and USDA will do what we can to help our farmers and ranchers during these challenging times.?
The policy changes influence FSA rules governing emergency grazing. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30. 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 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 an additional option 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.
There have been a number of policy changes in recent days. Therefore, it is recommended that farmers and ranchers continue to talk to their local FSA county office regarding their haying and grazing options.