Doug Goehring, North Dakota's ag commissioner, is asking the Farm Service Agency to consider allowing farmers and ranchers who cannot access their summer pastures to graze their animals on Conservation Reserve Program acres.
"Throughout the state, producers are finding their summer pastures inundated with water and totally unusable. Others are facing washed-out roads that prevent them from hauling cattle to summer pastures," Goehring wrote in a letter to Aaron Krauter, North Dakota FSA state executive director. "Any help concerning this matter would prevent forced liquidation of livestock and ease the heartache caused by multiple events that have taken place in the last several months."
Goehring said FSA was very helpful earlier this spring in allowing farmers and ranchers to use CRP acres for holding areas for livestock during the critical calving and lambing season this spring.
"Now we are at a point when farmers and ranchers turn their livestock out on summer pastures," he said.
The CRP program was created to plant highly erodible land to vegetative cover, such native grasses and trees. Producers receive annual rental payments for the term of the multi-year contract. Cost sharing is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices. The program is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation and administered by FSA.
North Dakota ranks fourth in CRP participation with 2.6 million acres enrolled in the program.
Recently, FSA opened CRP for grazing in 27 counties in Texas due to drought.
For land that is used for grazing under emergency provisions, the agency will reduce the CRP payment by 25%. Producers can use the CRP acreage to graze their own livestock, or they may grant another livestock producer the use of the CRP acreage.
For more information on and eligibility requirements for USDA disaster assistance, contact your local FSA office.
Source: ND Department of Agriculture and The Farmer-Stockman