Add Minnesota to the growing list of states eligible for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres as a way to help alleviate forage shortages.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has given authorization in 19 counties in mostly southeastern Minnesota. Producers there experienced significant precipitation this spring that delayed pasture and field growth, resulting in feed losses of 40% or more.

Minnesota’s move follows Texas and Nebraska, which both opened CRP acres in a number of counties this summer.

Emergency grazing in the Upper Midwestern state can begin immediately; emergency haying can begin Aug. 2.

“This is good news for livestock producers in the region and comes at a very critical time when many livestock producers are facing the decision whether or not to liquidate their herds,” says FSA State Executive Director Debra Crusoe. “In conjunction with the recent Secretarial Disaster Declaration for alfalfa winterkill in the southeastern part of the state that made available USDA-FSA emergency loans, producers now have another option to get relief for their herds.”

Counties approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP include: Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Le Sueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Scott, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona.

Emergency use of CRP acres is limited to 50% of the field for haying and 75% for grazing. Producers interested in using their CRP acres should contact the local FSA office to apply and sign modified conservation plans.

Emergency haying must be finished by Aug. 31, with bales removed by Sept. 15. Grazing must end by Sept. 30.