Schafer Announces Help for Drought-Stricken Counties | USDA Newsroom
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News Release

Release No. 0206.08
Patricia Klintberg (202) 720-9933
Keith Williams (202) 720-4623

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WASHINGTON, August 1, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced that producers in counties approved for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land because of drought will have rental payments cut by 10 percent instead of the standard 25 percent. To date, that includes counties in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

CRP is a voluntary program that offers annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term resource-conserving cover on eligible land. To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level "D3 Drought -Extreme" or greater, or have suffered at least a 40 percent loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month qualifying period. State FSA committees are reminded they may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP in counties currently listed as level D3 drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

  • To participate, livestock producers in counties approved for emergency haying or grazing assistance must certify they are an eligible livestock producer in an eligible county approved for emergency haying and grazing and that they are requesting emergency haying and grazing of eligible CRP acreage from another eligible CRP participant who is willing to provide hay or grazing.
  • The primary nesting and brood rearing season of the State where the land to be hayed or grazed is located will be respected.

CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the grazing privilege to an eligible livestock farmer located in an approved county.

For all land enrolled in CRP that has been approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought only, the Farm Service Agency will reduce the payment reduction from 25 percent, which was announced earlier, to 10 percent. This 10-percent payment reduction will be assessed based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed times the CRP annual rental rate times 10 percent.

The following counties have been approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought:

Colorado: Sedgwick, Logan, Lincoln, Washington, Kiowa, Prowers, Bent, Baca, Las Animas, Otero, Crowley, Pueblo, El Paso

Kansas: Sherman, Wallace, Hamilton, Stanton, Grant, Greeley, Haskell, Stevens

Montana: Sheridan, Richland, Dawson, Blaine, Phillips, Glacier

North Dakota: Divide, Burke, Renville, Bottineau, Rolette, Towner, Williams, Mountrail, Ward, McHenry, Pierce, McKenzie, Dunn, McLean, Sheridan, Golden Valley, Billings, Stark, Mercer, Oliver, Morton, Slope, Hettinger, Grant, Bowman, Adams.

Oklahoma: Cimarron

Texas: Briscoe, Castro, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Lipscomb, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Sherman, Swisher

More information on emergency haying and grazing is available at local FSA offices and online at:, click on Conservation.