WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to allow emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) CP25 acreage to provide an important feed option for Kansas livestock producers, especially those in Western Kansas who have been hard hit by multiple years of historic drought.
The following is text of the letter sent to Secretary Vilsack today:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
“Thank you for your attention to producers suffering from drought conditions across the country. Kansas farmers and ranchers continue to experience drought for the fourth and in some cases fifth consecutive year, impacting our rural communities, and the agricultural supply chain. As Secretary of Agriculture, you have the authority and ability to provide assistance to those in need.
“I appreciate the efforts of the Kansas State FSA Committee and State Director to provide relief for farm and ranch families by approving emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage. This action provides an important feed option for many of these producers.
“Despite this previous action, livestock producers are running out of forage to support their herds. Kansas has 2.3 million acres enrolled in CRP, including 850,000 acres designated as CP25, which to date has not been released for emergency haying or grazing. The majority of CP25 acreage in Kansas is found in areas experiencing severe and prolonged drought, where additional forage is a critical need for livestock.
“I write to request that you grant additional emergency grazing authority for CP25 acreage as requested by the Kansas State FSA Committee on June 6, 2013. I also request that you authorize haying of CP25 with the same rules and provisions as in 2012. Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman and the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) made a similar request on July 17, 2013.
“The livestock industry and wildlife interests in Kansas have a strong partnership. These groups have been actively working on efforts in coordination with Kansas FSA and NRCS to manage grazing that is beneficial to both wildlife habitat and livestock production. Your prompt consideration and approval of this time sensitive request will be most appreciated.”
Senator Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.