July 25, 2008
July 25, 2008 - U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled conditionally to allow haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Critical Feed Use (CFU) program. The ruling replaces a temporary restraining order first instituted July 8.
In the decision, Coughenour also ruled that USDA had violated environmental law when it determined the special program would not damage the environment and as a result a risk-assessment study was not needed.
The judge issued a narrow permanent injunction to allow those producers with approved CRP contracts to continue operations through the program's original Nov. 10 deadline. Farmers and ranchers who sent applications but have not received approvals will have their applications processed. If approved, those producers may hay until Sept. 30 or graze until Oct. 15.
Farmers and ranchers who have not yet sent applications may do so provided they submit in their application a statement explaining their reliance on the CFU program. The reliance statement should indicate whether the producer made investments or preparations of $4,500 or more and provide documentation. If the contract is approved, those producers also will be able to hay until Sept. 30 or graze until Oct. 1.