The following is a press release from Montana FSA:
(Bozeman, Mont., Aug. 2) - USDA authorized Daniels & Hill counties for emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres due to drought on Aug. 2nd effective immediately, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Montana State Executive Director Bruce Nelson announced today. Today's authorization brings the total number of Montana counties eligible for emergency CRP haying and grazing to 51.
"Two more counties were approved for CRP emergency haying and grazing this week because their county is now listed as abnormally dry in the U.S. Drought Monitor that is updated each Thursday," Nelson said. "In other news today, producers in two Montana counties - Carter and & Powder River - are now eligible for Emergency Loans because they are continuous to counties in South Dakota and Wyoming that were declared primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by extreme drought."
Emergency Haying & Grazing of CRP
All but five Montana counties are approved for emergency haying & grazing of CRP due to drought. The five counties that are NOT yet eligible for CRP emergency haying & grazing as of Aug. 2nd are the following: Liberty, Lincoln, Mineral, Sanders and Toole. The U.S. Drought Monitor is updated every Thursday. Montana FSA will announce any newly approved counties each week.
Producers in the 51 counties that are authorized for the emergency haying and grazing provisions must sign up with their county FSA office before any haying or grazing can occur. Authorized producers can use CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage upon written approval from the administering FSA county office.
General rules for Emergency Haying and Grazing include:
- Producers cannot hay or graze the same acreage.
- A 10 percent payment reduction will be applied. This will be calculated on the actual acres hayed/grazed
- All livestock must be removed from the CRP by Sept. 30th, 2012. Emergency Haying ends Aug. 31st, 2012 and all bales must be removed from the CRP by Nov. 12th, 2012.
Rules specific to Emergency Haying:
- Haying must be completed by Aug. 31, 2012
- Is limited to one (1) cutting
- At least 50 percent of each field or contiguous field must be unhayed.
- Participants may sell the hay harvested under the emergency provisions.
Rules specific to Emergency Grazing:
- Grazing must be completed by Sept. 30, 2012.
- Participants may lease the land for grazing under the emergency provisions.
Contact your local FSA office to determine if your seeding is eligible for this authorization and to request written approval. Ineligible practices include:
- In a useful life easement
- Land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body
- Practices such as waterways, filter strips, etc.
Wyoming & South Dakota Secretarial Primary Disaster Designations result in two Montana counties - Carter & Powder River - declared as contiguous natural disaster areas
Both Powder River and Carter counties were declared contiguous disaster areas on Aug. 2, 2012, making all qualified farm and ranch operators in these two counties eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers and ranchers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration - or until April 1, 2013 - to apply for emergency loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
Each week, new counties are added through the U.S. Drought Monitor FAST TRACK Secretarial designation process as part of recently announced changes to the Secretarial designation process.
Meanwhile Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has made requests for Secretarial Disaster designations due to various natural disasters including drought, wildfire, high temperatures, decreased moisture, insect infestation, hail, tornado and grazing and production losses on behalf of 16 counties and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. The designation requests are being processed by USDA to determine if the counties and Indian reservation are eligible for designation approval.
Recent changes in the disaster program will provide faster and more flexible assistance to farmers devastated by natural disasters. There are three significant improvements related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the previous rate from 3.75 percent to the current 2.25 percent rate; and a payment reduction on CRP lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.
USDA encourages all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and local FSA offices, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss. In addition, USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchased due to lost supplies in anticipation of any potential disaster programs. Additional resources to help farmers deal with drought may be found at http://www.usda.gov/disaster or www.fsa.usda.gov/mt.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) authorized in five Montana counties
The ECP Wildfire program, authorized in response to wildfires for Rosebud and Powder River counties on July 5th, has been expanded to also include Treasure County. Those interested in this cost-share program available to help restore fences and water and conservation structures, should contact the Rosebud/Treasure or Powder River FSA county offices.
The ECP program was recently approved for "drought emergency measures" in Stillwater and Yellowstone counties. Producers in these two counties who need assistance with water conservation and enhancement measures to 1.) permit grazing of range, pasture or forage by livestock; 2.) supply emergency water for existing irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards; or 3.) provide emergency water for confined livestock operations should contact the Stillwater and/or Yellowstone FSA county offices.
Montana Hay Hotline
Montana FSA continues to encourage producers seeking or selling hay and/or pasture to use the complimentary Montana Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline at http://services.agr.mt.gov/Hay_List/.
For more information, contact your local FSA county office.
Source: Montana FSA
Posted by Haylie Shipp