EMERGENCY CRP HAYING AND GRAZING EXPANDED IN ALABAMA
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- All Alabama counties, except Lauderdale, are now eligible for emergency haying and grazing for livestock as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner announced the USDA was expanding Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage covered due to persistent drought conditions.
However, the measure may not be of much value to Alabama livestock producers since much of the CRP grazing lands are also adversely affected by the drought. In fact, reports from livestock barns around the state indicate that beef producers are selling calves earlier than anticipated because they don't have grass and hay to feed them.
Six Alabama counties -- Pike, Bullock, Covington, Elmore, Geneva and Montgomery -- were previously approved for emergency grazing and haying.
The expansion announced Friday, however, includes a 150-mile radius from those counties. That radius includes every county in Alabama except Lauderdale, said Danny Crawford, state director of the Farm Service Agency.
Crawford added that Lauderdale could be become eligible if there is a contiguous county within the radius from nearby Mississippi or Tennessee.
Conner announced that producers' CRP rental payment will be reduced by only 10 percent instead of the standard 25 percent on CRP lands that are grazed in 2006. This payment reduction will be assessed based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed times the CRP annual rental rate times 10 percent. CRP participants who
prepaid the 25 percent payment reduction, will have the difference refunded.
CRP is a voluntary program that offers annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term resource-conserving cover on eligible land. This action will permit approved CRP participants to cut hay or graze livestock on CRP acreage, providing supplemental forage to producers whose pastures have been adversely affected by drought.
CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the grazing privilege to an eligible livestock farmer located in an approved county.
To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level "D3 Drought -- Extreme" or greater, or have suffered at least a 40 percent loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month qualifying period. State FSA committees are reminded they may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP in counties currently listed as level D3 drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Producers interested in the CRP emergency haying and grazing should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
A map of counties approved for emergency haying and grazing has been online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/hay_graze_status_7_13_06.jpg