Producers in counties that have had disaster declarations due to drought are eligible to hay and graze acres in the Conservation Reserve Program. Farm Service Agency Deputy Director John Johnson says the number of counties eligible is an ever changing number.
"Right now we're looking at a handful of counties in Montana, a number in the western side of North Dakota, a few in the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma's panhandle as well as in eastern Colorado," Johnson says. "But that list is always changing and as drought conditions change there might be other counties submitted and approved so producers who think they might be eligible need to check with their local FSA office to determine if their county has been approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP land."
If counties are eligible because of drought and a producer hays or grazes CRP acres, payments will be reduced by 10% rather than the usual 25%.
"They can make the decision whether that is something they want to pursue or not for their farming operation," Johnson says. "If they do, then they need to get their conservation plan modified to lay out the terms of that haying or grazing, and once that is approved by their county office then they can proceed with the activity."