USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director, James B. Douglass today announced that 12 counties are authorized for emergency grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for fiscal year (FY) 2012. Based on a decision made by the Texas FSA State Committee, CRP emergency grazing approval will only be available for those CRP lands that were not utilized for haying or grazing during the previous 12 months.

The following counties are approved for CRP emergency grazing:  Andrews, Bailey, Cochran, Cottle, Crosby, Dawson, Hockley, King, Lubbock, Martin, Swisher and Terry. The CRP emergency grazing authorization for FY 2012 is effective immediately and ends on September 30, 2012.

"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval before grazing eligible acreage," said Douglass. "Producers must also obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that outlines permitted grazing practices," he said.

Additionally, there will be a 25 percent CRP payment reduction for CRP acres used for grazing under these emergency provisions.

To take advantage of the emergency grazing 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.

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 and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include grazing requirements.

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