Skip to content

Drought-stricken acres join emergency plan

The Conservation Reserve Program is a land-retirement program that provides financial compensation to landowners who voluntarily enroll extremely erodible and environmentally sensitive lands. Typically Conservation Reserve Program contracts last 10 to 15 years to allow participants to establish long-term resource-conserving plant species – such as approved covers that control soil erosion, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat.

Under certain provisions the U.S. Department of Agriculture can authorize emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program-enrolled acreage to improve the quality and performance of the Conservation Reserve Program cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters. Every week the USDA updates the map of counties eligible for emergency haying and/or grazing. Figure 1 is a map using the latest data of counties the USDA has permitted for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres.

As of June 24 the most recently published list of counties with permitted haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land includes 1,021 counties or 32 percent of counties, primarily located in the West; 860 of those counties have been designated in 2021. In June alone emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres was authorized in 196 counties. Between June 17 and June 24, there were 39 counties added to the designation list, an increase of 4 percent in one week. Figure 2 contains the latest data on the number of counties that have emergency haying and grazing permitted on Conservation Reserve Program acres each week since Oct. 6, 2020.

In order for Conservation Reserve Program haying and grazing to be authorized, USDA staff reviews each county’s status every Thursday using the U.S. Drought Monitor. Counties are approved for emergency haying and grazing when they are designated as level “D2 Drought-Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Counties may request emergency haying and grazing status through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency County Committee in the event of a livestock emergency. The threshold for it is a documented 40 percent or greater loss of forage production due to the disaster event. Before haying and grazing, producers should contact the local USDA FSA County office to verify their county remains eligible and/or to obtain a modified conservation plan.

When a county is designated as D2 Drought-Severe, and emergency haying and grazing is authorized, producers can use their Conservation Reserve Program acreage for their own livestock – or may grant another livestock producer use of their Conservation Reserve Program acreage. For emergency haying, producers are limited to one cutting and are permitted to sell the hay. Participants must remove all hay from Conservation Reserve Program acreage within 15 days after baling and remove all livestock from Conservation Reserve Program acreage no later than one day after the emergency grazing period ends.

When broken down as a percent of counties in the state designated for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acreage, all counties in eight states are eligible – Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Colorado follows closely with 98 percent of counties permitted for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres. South Dakota currently has 92 percent of counties permitted. Figure 3 maps the percent of each state’s counties that are currently permitted for haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres as of June 24, 2021.

Summary

Counties designated as level D2 Drought-Severe according to the U.S. Drought Monitor can be approved for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program-enrolled acreage. In addition counties may request emergency haying and grazing status through the FSA County Committee in the event of a livestock emergency. The threshold for an emergency is a documented 40 percent or greater loss of forage production due to the disaster event. Every week the USDA updates the map of counties eligible for emergency haying and/or grazing. As drought conditions persist, that’s an option producers can use to help supplement forage needs. But with the drought so widespread and conditions expanding east, farmers and ranchers will likely need other methods for supplying forage to livestock.

Shelby Myers is an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Market Intel. Visit www.fb.org/market-intel for more information.

#pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article, #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article h1 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-ag-agriview-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } }

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *