BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has commended federal officials for allowing emergency haying and grazing of conservation acres in five North Dakota counties.

“The North Dakota office of the USDA's Farm Service Agency acted promptly and decisively in dealing with this situation,” Goehring said. “A lot of producers out there will need the additional hay and forage to keep their herds intact.”

Aaron Krauter, state FSA executive director, announced Friday, that emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres has been authorized in Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Stutsman and Ward counties. Producers with at least part of their livestock operation in one of these counties may hay CRP acres, starting Tuesday.

Goehring urged livestock producers and CRP participants in the five counties to contact their local FSA office both to get the necessary written authorization to hay or graze CRP and to learn more about the provisions of the emergency release.

“The authorization is limited to certain conservation practices and does not include CP23 acres,” Goehring said. “The hay must be cut by Aug. 31 with bales removed by Nov. 15, and grazing is allowed through Sept. 30.”

The emergency release allows CRP participants who are not livestock producers to lease CRP acreage to eligible livestock producers for no more than the amount of the 25 percent payment reduction. CRP hay may not be sold under the emergency release. Only 50 percent of eligible fields or contiguous fields may be hayed.