USDA authorizes emergency grazing for 192 counties
USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Judith A. Canales recently announced that Bandera is one of the 192 Texas counties authorized for emergency grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for fiscal year (FY) 2013 effective June 2.
Counties become eligible for CRP emergency grazing when they reach the D2 - severe drought - level on the United States Drought Monitor. As of May 30, 192 counties reached the D2 level and are eligible for CRP emergency grazing. However, it is possible that more counties will reach the D2 level eligibility requirement in coming weeks.
The CRP emergency grazing authorization for fiscal year 2013 that began on June 2 will remain in effect for a 90-day period.
Based on a decision made by the Texas FSA State Committee, CRP emergency grazing approval will only be available for those CRP lands that were not utilized for haying or grazing during fiscal year 2011, 2012 or in the fall or winter of fiscal year 2013. FSA's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval before grazing eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes grazing provisions," said Canales. "Current provisions allow grazing on 100 percent of a field, up to the 75 percent stocking rate."
Additionally, there will be a 25 percent CRP payment reduction for CRP acres used for grazing under these emergency provisions.
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 use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county.
"If a producer chooses to lease eligible CRP acreage, the producer cannot profit on the lease agreement," said Canales. "The amount charged for lease of CRP emergency grazing acres cannot exceed the value of the 25 percent payment reduction."
Texas FSA will review the U.S. Drought Monitor on June 27, and counties at a D3 - extreme drought - level will be authorized for emergency haying of eligible CRP acres.
For more information and to request approval for emergency grazing use of CRP acres, produces must contact their local FSA office.