In response to drought conditions, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorized emergency grazing and haying use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for Lubbock and Montague Counties. This authorization brings the total to 79 counties approved to graze CRP acres and 76 counties approved to hay CRP acres.

For Lubbock and Montague Counties, haying authorization ends on August 31, 2011, and grazing authorization ends on September 30, 2011.

"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency grazing or haying of CRP must request approval before grazing or haying eligible acreage," said Juan M. Garcia, Texas FSA state executive director. "Producers must also obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes grazing and haying requirements," he said.

Additionally, there will be a 25 percent CRP payment reduction for CRP acres used for grazing or haying (depending on the number of acres actually hayed) under these emergency provisions.

To take advantage of the emergency grazing and haying provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county.

For emergency grazing requests…

Eligible producers who are interested in grazing CRP under the emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval to graze eligible acreage; obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include grazing requirements, leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.

For emergency haying requests…

Upon approval of emergency haying, producers must leave at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous field unhayed for wildlife. Since Lubbock and Montague Counties are eligible for emergency haying and grazing, the same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and/or grazed at the same time. For example, if 50 percent of a field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining unhayed 50 percent cannot be grazed; it must remain unhayed and ungrazed for wildlife.

For more information and to request approval for emergency grazing or haying of CRP acres contact your local FSA office.