Goehring urges CRP release for haying

Hay bales

BISMARCK, N.D. – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring sent a request to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for the release of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for early haying in a 150-mile radius of drought-impacted areas starting July 15 to help North Dakota ranchers due to the extreme severity of the ongoing drought conditions in the state.

Livestock producers that have been harvesting forage are only getting approximately 19-30 percent of what they normally would,” Goehring said. “The deficit grows worse every day as temperatures are climbing and there is little to no precipitation in the forecast.”

In a letter to Secretary Perdue, Goehring outlined the desperate need for the opening of CRP acres to emergency haying.

It has been a daunting challenge for many producers to move their livestock to other CRP areas to graze where there may be inadequate fencing, no access to water and no direct oversight to care for and manage the wellbeing of their livestock,” Goehring said. “In most cases, it is more economical and reasonable for a producer to move hay than to move livestock.”

In a typical year, managed CRP is not opened for haying until August 2, which correlates with the end of the primary nesting season. However, wildlife and conservation groups in North Dakota have expressed their support of a July 15 date.

“I appreciate North Dakota’s wildlife interest groups for recognizing the devastating impact the drought is having on the farming and ranching community,” Goehring said. “North Dakota Game and Fish, North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and Delta Waterfowl have come out in support of the earlier haying date.”

Goehring also praised Secretary Perdue for his continued support and understanding of the difficult situation North Dakota livestock producers are faced with. “We appreciate everything he has done to date for our state and our producers,” Goehring said.