Some Iowa farmers will have more time to harvest hay off Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres after USDA responded quickly to a letter from two U.S. Senators urging an extension.
The ag department released CRP acres in 35 Iowa counties for emergency haying on Aug. 29. Under CRP rules, it was supposed to have been completed by Aug. 31, but will extend to Sept. 15. The measure is to help livestock producers facing feed shortages resulting from a late-developing drought.
In a Sept. 5 letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Iowa senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin contended that the original two-day emergency release did not give farmers enough time to put up hay.
“As the former governor of Iowa, you certainly understand the importance of livestock production to our state and share our concern for Iowa livestock producers as they deal with a second year of drought conditions that have severely strained forage supplies,” wrote the lawmakers.
“That unreasonably short time frame prevented many farmers from baling any hay under the emergency CRP release. Therefore, these producers did not get the benefit from CRP access that should have helped mitigate the short supply of hay for the upcoming winter.”
According to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, large portions of central and southern Iowa are experiencing either moderate or severe drought.
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