The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced changes on Aug. 7 for emergency haying and grazing use of acres that are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.


Changes that were outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill that streamlines the authorization process for farmers and ranchers are included.


"Drought conditions are tough for our livestock producers, but emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program acres provides temporary relief to these producers," said David Schemm, state executive director in Kansas. "Thanks to a streamlined authorization process, Kansas producers will be able to more quickly obtain emergency-use approval to begin emergency haying or grazing of CRP acres."


Prior emergency haying and grazing requests originated with FSA at the county level, required state level and national level approval, but will now be based on drought severity determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.


As of Aug. 7, a total of 27 counties in Kansas have triggered eligibility for emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres. The FSA updates weekly a list by state and map of eligible counties on their website.


Any producer located in a county that is designated as severe drought (D2) or greater on or after the last day of the primary nesting season will be eligible for emergency haying and grazing on all eligible acres.


Unless the FSA County Committee determines that forage conditions no longer warrant emergency haying and grazing, producers located in D2 status counties in any single week during the last eight weeks of the primary nesting season may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing, as well.


Counties that trigger Livestock Forage Disaster Program payments that are based on the U.S. Drought Monitor may hay only specific practices on no more than 50% of eligible contract acres.


Producers should contact their local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.


Outside of the primary nesting season, counties that do not meet the Drought Monitor qualifications but have a 40% loss of forage production may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing.


The CRP emergency haying and grazing provisions are as followed:


Producers must submit a request for CRP emergency haying or grazing to FSA before haying or grazing eligible acres, as well as obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Emergency grazing is authorized for only up to a 90-day period, and emergency haying is authorized for up to 60 days, meaning CRP participants must stop haying and grazing 30 days prior to the first freeze date in the fall based on the established LFP dates.


Producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock and may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage, per the emergency grazing provisions, if they wish. Eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within an approved county.


Emergency haying is limited to one cutting and producers are still permitted to sell the hay.


Participants have 15 days after bailing to remove all hay from CRP acreage and have no later than one day to remove all livestock from CRP acreage after the end of the emergency grazing period.


No CRP annual rental payment reduction for emergency haying and grazing authorizations will apply.


For more information on CRP emergency haying and grazing, visit fsa.usda.gov/crp or contact the FSA county office. To locate a specific FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.


For more disaster recovery assistance programs, visit farmers.gov/recover.


Additional information regarding all USDA Service Centers COVID-19 procedures can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.