USDA has opened most Conservation Reserve Program land in eligible counties in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana for emergency haying July 16 through Aug. 30.
Eligible counties are those classified as D2 or greater by the U.S. Drought Monitor, and those that are within 150 miles of D2 or greater counties. Essentially, that encompasses nearly all of North Dakota and South Dakota. D2 is severe drought. D3 is extreme drought.
July 11 U.S. Drought Monitor
GETTING WORSE: The drought is growing in the Dakotas.
Not all CRP ground can be hayed, however. There are some exceptions related to wildlife habitat contracts. See your local Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service offices for details.
Montana and North Dakota hay stocks as of May 1 were the lowest since 2013. South Dakota’s hay stocks number was the lowest since 2014.
“We are offering any and all USDA program options that will provide farmers and ranchers relief from the devastating impacts of prolonged drought,” said Brian Haugen, North Dakota Farm Service Agency state director, in a statement announcing the CRP haying authorization.
You can bale qualified CRP acres only for your own use, or you can grant another producer use of your CRP land for haying purposes. There will be no CRP annual rental payment reductions assessed for acres hayed under this emergency authority.
Other emergency programs that have been authorized:
• Emergency CRP Grazing — Open classified as D2 and greater and any county within 150 miles of counties classified as D2 or greater.
• FSA Farm Loan Livestock Physical Control Requirement Flexibility — USDA will authorize up to a 12-month exemption to the FSA farm loan requirement that borrowers maintain physical control of livestock during the term of the loan. This exemption will allow livestock producers to send livestock to feedlots, drylots or otherwise relocate livestock to locations where feed, forage and water needs can be met.
• Emergency Loan Program — Available to producers in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation.
For more information on these and other drought relief programs, visit fsa.usda.gov/disaster or contact your local FSA office.
Additional ND actions
To help provide relief to struggling ranchers, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum recently signed an executive order suspending the 150-mile limit on the distance that farm license vehicles can transport livestock, hay and water supplies from an operator’s farm. That action followed a separate executive order waiving hours of service and weight limits for commercial haulers supporting drought-stricken ranchers. The North Dakota Highway Patrol requires drivers to keep a copy of the executive order in their vehicle. The orders can be found on governor’s website at governor.nd.gov.
Burgum also announced that, at his request, State Engineer Garland Erbele has authorized an additional $75,000 for the State Water Commission’s Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program.