Emergency Grazing Authorized in Montana & Dakotas
“Due to reduced availability of forage, ranchers in the hardest hit locations have already been culling their herds,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Without alternative forage options like grazing CRP lands, livestock producers are faced with the economically devastating potential of herd liquidation.”
USDA authorized emergency grazing on certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. All or parts of these states are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions – indicated as categories D2 and D3 on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
CRP is a voluntary program administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land and, when needed, provide emergency relief to livestock producers suffering the impacts of certain natural disasters.
As of June 23, 2017, the following 10 Montana counties are eligible for emergency grazing: Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux. Producers in these counties must contact FSA for approval prior to beginning any emergency grazing.
Emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately and extends through Sept. 30, unless conditions improve. Producers must work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a modified conservation plan that is site specific, including the authorized grazing duration to reflect local wildlife needs. FSA State Committees will monitor emergency grazing implementation at the local level to mitigate adverse impact on nesting areas and established CRP vegetation.
Eligible CRP participants can use the acreage for grazing their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. There will be no CRP annual rental payment reductions assessed for acres grazed.
To take advantage of the emergency grazing provisions, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center visit http://offices.usda.gov.