In response to drought conditions, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorized emergency grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for an additional 13 Texas counties effective immediately. This most recent authorization brings the total to 51 counties approved to graze CRP acres.
Emergency grazing of land enrolled in CRP has been authorized for Brown, Cochran, Coke, Donley, Foard, Hall, Hockley, Jones, Mitchell, Motley, Ochiltree, Tom Green and Wheeler Counties.
The following 38 counties were previously approved for emergency grazing of CRP acres: Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Fisher, Floyd, Garza, Hale, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Howard, Kent, King, Knox, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lynn, Martin, Nolan, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, Wilbarger and Yoakum Counties.
According to USDA Texas Farm Service Agency Executive Director Juan M. Garcia, the current CRP emergency use authorization permits grazing only. No haying of CRP acres is allowed at this time. Additionally there will be a 25 percent CRP payment reduction for CRP acres used for grazing under these emergency provisions. Emergency grazing of eligible CRP acres has been authorized through September 30, 2011.
To take advantage of the emergency grazing provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer the use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to the acreage within the approved counties.
Eligible producers who are interested in grazing CRP under the emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval to graze eligible acreage, obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include grazing requirements, leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.
For more information on and eligibility requirements for USDA disaster assistance, contact your local FSA office.