With another 13 counties added to Montana's list of qualifying areas for USDA Emergency Haying and Grazing, a large portion of the livestock area in the state is now eligible for assistance.
In late July, USDA added the new counties, bringing the total number to 21, including the following:
The authorization announced by Montana Farm Service Agency acting Executive Secretary Dick Deschamps means ranches in the counties can use Conservation Reserve Program lands for grazing due to the drought.
Ranchers must complete haying by Aug. 31 to qualify. Grazing must be removed from CRP lands by Sept. 30. Producers who wish to hay or graze their CRP contract acres must sign up in their local FSA office before any haying or grazing may occur.
"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must request written approval from the Farm Service Agency," says Deschamps. "There will be a 10% annual payment reduction for CRP acres used for haying and grazing under these emergency provisions."
To take advantage of the emergency measures, producers can use CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the land. CRP participants are now allowed to charge livestock producers more than the 10% annual payment reduction for the haying or grazing privileges.
Emergency haying and grazing of CRP is different from the "emergency use" of CRP that was announced in July by the Montana FSA for Rosebud and Powder River counties. The "emergency use" authorization, effective until Aug. 3, is for livestock producers who lost pasture or fences due to fires to help protect livestock.