WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2012- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres this week, in order to free up forage and feed for ranchers.
The Secretary also designated 147 additional counties in 14 states as natural disaster areas-128 counties in 10 states due to drought. In the past seven weeks, USDA has designated 1,892 unduplicated counties in 38 states as disaster areas-1,820 due to drought.
USDA is permitting farmers and ranchers in drought stricken states that have been approved for emergency grazing to extend grazing on CRP land through Nov. 30, 2012, without incurring an additional CRP rental payment reduction. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30.
According to USDA, the Administration’s response to the drought has also included: the National Credit Union Administration's increased capacity for lending to customers including farmers; the U.S. Department of Transportation's emergency waivers for federal truck weight regulations and hours of service requirements to get help to drought-stricken communities; and the Small Business Administration's issuance of 71 agency declarations in 32 states covering 1,636 counties, providing a pathway for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and non-farm small businesses that are economically affected by the drought in their community to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
USDA’s announcement clarified that the extension of emergency grazing on CRP acres does not apply to these practices: CP8A – Grass Waterway-Non-easement; CP23 – Wetland Restoration; CP23A – Wetland Restoration-Non-Floodplain; CP27 – Farmable Wetlands Pilot Wetland; CP28 – Farmable Wetlands Pilot Buffer; CP37 – Duck Nesting Habitat; and CP41 – FWP Flooded Prairie Wetlands.
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