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CRP Restrictions To Be Lifted

July 24, 2012, 10:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

CRP Restrictions To Be Lifted

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced farmers will be able to use some of the acres they have enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for hay or grazing.

Hot, dry weather conditions in the U.S. are sending many farmers to their dried up cornfields in order to find enough feed for their livestock.

"I think we're going to end up chopping a lot more silage than we normally would because we've got corn that's burning up and not producing much of an ear," Lyon County, Iowa, farmer Mike Ter Wee said.

Ter Wee farms just across the border in northwest Iowa. While he's not happy about part of his corn crop burning up, the silver lining is that he can still use it to feed his cattle.

Larry Olsen with the Minnehaha County Farm Service Agency says the phone rings all day, every day. Livestock owners are anxiously looking for more sources of hay. So the release of CRP acres to haying and grazing is a great help to farmers.

"Everybody's looking for every feed source that they can. The pastures are virtually gone and have been for some time now, and a lot of our producers have been supplement feeding on the pastures. And they're going to have to start bringing them home," Olsen said.

With pastures chewed down and no moisture in sight, hay is becoming a hot commodity.

Peggy Moyer:  Do you think with some of the CRP acres coming out that that's going to be a little bit of relief?
Ter Wee: I believe so. The problem is in our area there isn't much CRP to make.

Ter Wee says the price of hay has doubled in the last four months.  Just this week, the price broke $300/ton in Rock Valley, Iowa. 

More than 500,000 CRP acres in South Dakota could be eligible for the haying and grazing release. August 2 will be the first day of eligibility. However, landowners must fill out an application with their local FSA office before using the land.

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