Late Monday afternoon U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer stated the agency is releasing Conservation Reserve Program acres for livestock grazing in counties recently designated as Presidential Disaster Areas because of flooding. The release permits grazing only in counties designated as primary and contiguous disaster areas and only because of flooding. The states with counties that will permit livestock grazing include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
"Flood waters inundated thousands of acres that cannot be salvaged for production this growing season, and it happened at a time of record crop, food and fuel prices," says Schafer. "Our CRP land is vital to the balance we promote at USDA between production and preservation. I commit this resource knowing that we must redouble our conservation effort at every future opportunity."
According to the Department of Agriculture, to be approved, participants must write their county FSA office, obtain a modified conservation plan and receive county office approval before beginning to graze. Participants will experience a 25% reduction in their Conservation Reserve Program rental payments.