In response to producers who lost forage acres or fencing as a result of recent wildfires, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced authorization of emergency use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in 100 Texas counties. Eligible producers must request and receive FSA approval for emergency use of CRP acres by close of business April 4, 2008.

Emergency use of land enrolled in CRP has been authorized for Andrews, Archer, Bailey, Brooks, Callahan, Coke, Comanche, Crane, Crockett, Dimmitt, Duval, Edwards, Glasscock, Hidalgo, Howard, Jim Hogg, Kent, King, Knox, Kenedy, Kinney, LaSalle, Martin, Midland, Parker, Pecos, Real, Scurry, Starr, Sterling, Terrell, Val Verde, Willacy, Winkler, and Young Counties as well as 65 adjoining counties.

Livestock may be temporarily moved to land enrolled in CRP for no more than 60 days, as approved by the county office, on a case-by-case basis. No payment reduction applies to the authorized exception and no funds are otherwise authorized for water, feed, or other cost.

Authority is limited to livestock producers who lost pasture or fences due to wildfire. To take advantage of the emergency provisions, eligible producers may cross county boundaries from one approved emergency use county to another approved emergency use county.

The use of the CRP acreage is authorized for grazing only. CRP participants who wish to provide land to eligible producers must request approval to graze eligible acreage, obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include grazing requirements, and 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 determined by NRCS.

For more information and eligibility requirements on USDA disaster assistance, contact your local FSA Office.