Goehring says CRP opening necessary

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says he hopes federal authorities will allow early grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in two southwestern North Dakota counties.

“The State Technical Committee has recommended an exemption to the CRP grazing rules in Bowman and Slope counties,” Goehring said Friday. “Ranchers there need help to get their herds through this widening drought.”

Meeting by conference call Friday morning, the State Technical Committee requested that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) allow emergency grazing on CRP acres in the two counties during the primary nesting and brood rearing season, which ends Aug. 1. The request has been forwarded to the FSA in Washington which will make the final determination.

The State Technical Committee advises the Natural Resources Conservation Service and other USDA agencies on the implementation of the natural resources conservation provisions of Farm Bill legislation. Members include representatives from federal and state natural resource agencies, American Indian tribes, agricultural and environmental organizations, and agricultural producers.

Goehring said the list of North Dakota counties classified as having moderate drought (D1) and severe drought (D2) is growing, and that it is likely more counties will make similar requests for CRP exemptions in the near future.