USDA has decided to give western ranchers longer to use their Conservation Reserve Program lands for emergency grazing.
The move frees up forage and feed for ranchers for two months longer than the previous deadline.
Drought stricken ranchers such as those in Montana that have been approved for emergency grazing on CRP lands now have until Nov. 30 to continue their use of the contract acres without a 10% payment reduction.
Fifty-one of the state's 56 counties were authorized to request for the emergency haying and grazing use.
In other drought actions, three more Montana counties were declared contiguous disaster areas as part of two Idaho Secretarial Disaster Designations.
The Idaho disaster designations in Beaverhead, Gallatin and Madison counties were declared due to hail, frost and freezes as well as drought.
The designation triggers low-interest Farm Service Agency loans for impacted producers who are urged to visit their FSA offices to sign up for assistance.
The approval allows producers to request 2.25% interest emergency loans for several disaster reasons.
USDA recently designated six counties on Montana – Beaverhead, Big Horn, Custer, Madison, Rosebud and Yellowstone – as primary natural disaster areas because they have been in D2 ( severe drought) status for two months
Because of this designation, 17 Montana counties are contiguous to a primary natural disaster area.
Loans available to producers are to be used to restore or replace property that is essential to production, and pay for production costs associated with the disaster period. Additionally, loans of up to $500,000 can be applied to family living expenses and to refinance debts, excluding real estate loans.
The Continuous Signup practices, authorized in early August that cannot be emergency grazed after Sept. 30 are as follows: CP8A, Grass Waterway; CP23, Wetland Restoration; CP23A, Wetland Restoration, Non-Floodplain; CP27, Farmable Wetlands Pilot Wetland; CP28, Farmable Wetlands, Pilot Buffer; CP37, Duck Nesting Habitat, and CP41, Flooded Prairie Wetlands.