SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Sen. John Thune is asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to release Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency haying and grazing in South Dakota because of continuing drought conditions.
The South Dakota Republican sent a letter to the secretary on Monday saying a dry spring, higher than normal temperatures and lack of rainfall have resulted in short hay supplies and pastureland in areas of the state as low as only 25 percent of normal carrying capacity.
Thune says opening a portion of South Dakota's more than 1.1 million CRP acres could help alleviate the worsening shortage for the state's ranchers.
He says such emergency action has been permitted for CRP acres in South Dakota in the past due to drought conditions.
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