The U.S. Department of Agriculture has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to aid ranchers devastated by ongoing wildfires started March 6, 2017, in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Kansas counties affected include: Clark, Comanche, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Hodgeman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Meade, Ness, Russell and Seward. Producers wishing to graze on CRP lands already enrolled in contracts with USDA should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael L. Young issued a memorandum authorizing the emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers.
The reaction to USDA’s announcement was welcomed.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts:
“I appreciate the Department allowing Kansas ranchers who have lost their rangeland due to the largest wildfire in our state’s history access to timely, deliverable assistance,” Chairman Roberts said. “Producers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are struggling to feed what is left of their herds. They need all the help they can get.”
Kansas Senator Jerry Moran:
“Ranchers need every available acre of grass to feed the surviving cattle,” said Sen. Moran. “Allowing emergency grazing of CRP acres will give producers additional options as they search for grassland for their livestock. I appreciate USDA’s continued attention on relief efforts and will continue to urge them to utilize every tool available to assist families devastated by the fires.”
Kansas 1st District Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall:
“This allowance delivers much-needed relief to producers in the impacted counties,” Congressman Marshall said. “I applaud the recognition and action from President Trump and the USDA to continue to provide relief, in addition to providing support and guidance for producers in programs like the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Livestock Forage Program.”
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey:
“We appreciate the support from the USDA and the Trump administration in response to this critical need for emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers in the region,” said Secretary McClaskey. “The wildfires have created a tremendous burden on Kansas farmers and ranchers, and flexibility in government programs is especially important in meeting their needs as they begin the recovery process.”
In the memorandum, acting Deputy Secretary Young said the authorization is subject to certain limitations regarding Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat and conformity with certain requirements regarding modified conservation plans.
Click here to read the details of the authorization.
For more details or other updated information about wildfire recovery resources, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture webpage at www.agriculture.ks.gov/wildfire.
Sources: Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Jerry Moran, Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas Department of Agriculture