Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns recently announced a measure to provide livestock in drought-affected states with additional hay and forage. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage eligible for emergency haying and grazing in Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee has been expanded to include land in an area radiating 210 miles out from all counties previously approved for emergency haying and grazing.

To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level "D3 Drought -- Extreme" or greater by the U.S. Drought Monitor, or have suffered at least a 40% loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month qualifying period. USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committees may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP land in counties currently listed as level D3 drought. CRP participants who want to apply to their local FSA office for emergency haying and grazing must wait until after the nesting season for certain birds.

Only livestock operations within approved counties are eligible for emergency haying or grazing of CRP acreage. CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the grazing privilege to an eligible livestock farmer located in an approved county. Producers with CRP acreage that is hayed or grazed will be assessed a 10% reduction in their annual rental payment.

Maps relating to this announcement and more information on emergency haying and grazing are available at local FSA offices and online at: www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=copr&topic=crp-eg .

Source: USDA.