USDA has authorized that certain acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can be made available for haying and grazing after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds.

More than 24 million acres of land enrolled in CRP will be eligible, says Ag Secretary Ed Schafer. He estimates that this program will make available up to 18 million tons of forage worth $1.2 billion.

"In authorizing this critical use of CRP acres for forage, USDA is also taking strong measures to preserve CRP's environmental benefits," said Schafer.

For the full USDA release and requirements, visit the USDA Farm Service Agency web site.

For reaction from hay growers to the USDA decision, check the story in the June 3 issue of eHay Weekly. To get the online newsletter, visit the Hay & Forage website and click on the Subscribe button under eHay Weekly at the bottom of the home page.