Producers in waterlogged areas in Carver, Kittson, Le Sueur, McLeod, Rock, Roseau and Sibley counties in Minnesota are eligible to apply for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

Excessive rains have caused a severe shortage of available forage for livestock producers there, says Debra Crusoe, USDA Minnesota Farm Service Agency executive director. The emergency designation is offered to counties that have sustained a 40% or greater loss of available feed. From March through mid-July, precipitation levels totaled 140% of average or greater in those counties.

Crusoe says south-central Minnesota was hit particularly hard.

Gaining access to CRP land “is good news for livestock producers in the region and comes at a very critical time when many livestock producers are facing the decision of whether or not to liquidate their herds,” she says.

According to program rules, emergency haying and grazing is limited to 50% of a CRP-designated field for haying or 75% of a field for grazing.

Producers must contact their local FSA offices and sign modified conservation plans with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) before being qualified to hay or graze CRP acres.

Emergency haying ends Aug. 31, and bales must be removed from CRP acres by Sept. 15. Emergency grazing ends Sept. 30.

For information, contact the Minnesota FSA state office at 651-602-7712.