USDA officials have announced a 2-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement this week.

The extension will free up the extra forage for ranchers as they try to recover from the current drought.

Woodward Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Bowdy Peach said the normal period for emergency CRP grazing ends Sept. 30. The extension is to Nov. 30.

"This applies to general CRP practices, and producers must submit an extension request to the Woodward FSA indicating the acreage to be grazed," Peach said.

He said if producers had been previously approved for the emergency grazing through Sept. 30, they are now required to continue to make sure the minimum residual height limit - 6 inches - is not violated before the new Nov. 30 deadline.

"Cattle will need to be pulled off the land immediately if the minimum residual height is attained," Peach said.

He said producers may still sign up now until Nov. 30.

"If they are already enrolled in CRP, they don''t have to do anything but remind us of the acreage to be grazed by Nov. 30  - and continue to meet the 6-inch restriction," he said.

Peach said new participants in CRP will need to let FSA know where their land is, which will be included when they apply.

"If they're already in CRP, we know where their pasture is located," Peach said.

For more information, see Peach at the Woodward FSA Service Center, 3300 Oklahoma Ave., or dial (580) 256-7882 Extension 2.

Producers may also go to www.fsa.usda.gov to learn more about CRP and other FSA programs, Peach said.

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