July 11, 2008
July 11, 2008 - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced on Monday that he is releasing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 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.
"We have a crisis situation in the Midwest and other parts of the country that calls for drastic action," said Schafer. "Major flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries came at one of the worst times for agriculture. 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. 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," said Schafer.
To be approved, CRP participants must write their county Farm Service Agency office, obtain a modified conservation plan and receive county office approval before beginning to graze. Participants will experience a 25-percent reduction in their CRP rental payments.
The states with counties that will permit livestock grazing include Colo., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Md., Minn., Mo., Neb., Ohio, Pa., S.D., Va., W.Va. and Wis.
For a complete list of counties affected, go to www.usda.gov/2008/07/0179.xml