Rules revised for livestock grazing
The ongoing drought has prompted a revision of rules for area ranchers and where their livestock may graze.
Caldwell-Hays-Comal County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Trey Stoneham has announced that the Texas FSA State Committee revised a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) emergency grazing policy that limited eligibility on acres grazed in previous fiscal years.
Based on a revised policy decision made by the Texas FSA State Committee, CRP acres grazed during fiscal year 2011 or 2012 will be considered eligible for emergency grazing if NRCS verifies, on a case-by-case basis, that the conservation cover will sustain grazing.
CRP acres grazed in the fall/winter of fiscal year 2013 will not be eligible for spring/summer grazing. FSA's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
"This policy change will allow eligible producers to graze acres that were grazed in the last two fiscal years if the conservation cover meets local NRCS standards," Stoneham said.
Counties become eligible for CRP emergency grazing when they reach the D2 (severe drought) level on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Currently, 197 counties have reached the D2 level and are eligible for CRP emergency grazing. This policy change applies to all counties authorized for CRP emergency grazing.
"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval before grazing eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes grazing provisions," Stoneham said. "Current provisions allow grazing on 100 percent of a field, up to the 75 percent stocking rate," he said.
For more information about CRP Emergency Grazing, call the Caldwell-Hays-Comal County FSA office at (512) 398-4176 ext. 2.