USDA authorizes emergency haying and grazing for 14 Oklahoma counties

Action provides help to producers dealing with drought conditions

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Oklahoma Executive Director Scott Biggs announced 14 Oklahoma counties are now authorized for emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program acres.

This request is based on the need for emergency haying or grazing and a county’s designation of at least a D2 (severe drought) level on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Emergency haying and grazing must occur outside the primary nesting season, which for Oklahoma is May 1 through July 1.

“Areas of Oklahoma are experiencing severe drought conditions with increased wildfire risk,” said Biggs. “In response, we are authorizing emergency haying and grazing on multiple CRP practices in approved counties.”

For Oklahoma, the counties approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP lands at this time are: Beckham, Cotton, Custer, Ellis, Garfield, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Kingfisher, Roger Mills, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward. Should the drought worsen, more counties may become eligible.

Emergency haying and grazing is authorized through April 30, as the primary nesting season begins May 1, 2018.

CRP practices eligible for emergency haying and grazing in approved Oklahoma counties are:

CP1 – Introduced Grasses and Legume Establishment

CP2 – Native Grass, Forb and Legume Establishment

CP4B – Wildlife Habitat Corridors

CP4D – Permanent Wildlife Habitat

CP8A – Grass Waterway

CP10 – Previously Established Vegetative Cover

CP18B – Salinity Reducing Vegetation Establishment

CP18C – Salinity Tolerant Vegetation Establishment

CP23 – Wetland Restoration (Floodplain)

CP23A – non-Floodplain Wetland Restoration

CP27 – Farmable Wetland – Wetland

CP28 – Farmable Wetland – Buffer

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Emergency haying and grazing is not approved for CHAT categories one and two lesser prairie chicken critical habitat areas.

"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must request approval before haying and grazing eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes haying and grazing provisions," said Biggs

Current provisions allow grazing on 75 percent of a CRP field or an entire field at no more than75 percent of the stocking rate, except for land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body. Additionally, current provisions require 50 percent of a field or contiguous f