Following a request from Rep. Kristi Noem and others, the USDA today authorized emergency haying on South Dakota CRP acres that are located in counties with a D2 designation or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor.  The authorization will take effect beginning on July 16.  In a letter earlier this summer, Noem urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to take this action highlighting the worsening drought conditions. 

“While CRP is traditionally not released for haying this early in the season, we cannot wait to act in a year like this,” said Noem. “We already face a severe feed crisis, and if conditions are left to worsen without further relief, livestock producers could lose another essential source of feed. I thank Secretary Perdue for considering the unique circumstances and taking decisive action in offering another option to drought-stricken ranchers.”

On June 23, the USDA announced it would open certain South Dakota CRP areas to grazing. A week later, the USDA announced it would allow certain CRP contract holders to donate the hay harvested for midseason management to livestock producers in drought-stricken counties

In addition to CRP access, ranchers in counties designated as D3 (or D2 for at least eight weeks) on the U.S. Drought Monitor are eligible for support from the Livestock Forage Program, which Noem fought to make permanent during the 2014 Farm Bill negotiations.

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