The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that emergency haying and grazing will be allowed on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres contingent on the current state of drought severity.

Based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, producers located in a county that is designated as being in an area with severe drought (D2) or greater on or after the primary nesting season become eligible for emergency haying or grazing CRP land. This criterion currently triggers haying or grazing for over 500 U.S. counties.

A list by state and map of eligible counties are updated weekly and available on FSA’s website.

Additionally, producers located in counties that were in a D2 drought status in any single week during the last eight weeks of the primary nesting season may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing, unless the FSA County Committee determines that forage conditions no longer warrant emergency haying and grazing.

Counties that trigger for Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments based on the U.S. Drought Monitor may only hay certain practices on less than 50% of eligible contract acres. Producers should contact their local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.

Counties that don’t meet the drought monitor qualifications but have a 40% loss of forage production may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing outside of the primary nesting season. Contact your local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.

Before haying or grazing eligible acres, producers must submit a request for CRP emergency haying or grazing to their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Emergency grazing is authorized for up to 90 days and emergency haying is authorized for up to 60 days. Program participants must stop haying and grazing 30 days before the first freeze date in the fall based on the dates established for LFP.

Under the emergency grazing provisions, producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county.

For emergency haying, producers are limited to one cutting and are permitted to sell the hay. Participants must remove all hay from CRP acreage within 15 days after baling and remove all livestock from CRP acreage no later than one day after the end of the emergency grazing period. There will be no CRP annual rental payment reduction for emergency haying and grazing authorizations.