The Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Colorado announced that producers no longer have to remove livestock 30 days prior to the first freeze date on acres approved for emergency haying or grazing. This requirement has been waived for the 2020 program year in response to the critical need due to extreme drought. Producers approved to hay or graze their CRP acres may continue to do so according to their approved conservation plan with no requirement to implement a 30-day rest period on the cover.
Conditions in Colorado have been progressively dry with deteriorating rangeland and wildfires plaguing millions of acres. As a result, producers have been faced with difficult decisions about how to manage their livestock in these tumultuous times. The requirement for producers to remove livestock for 30 days would impose an extreme hardship. Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres has been a tool used by farmers and ranchers to provide relief. As drought conditions persist, emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres provides an option to graze and feed their livestock to avoid marketing their herd prematurely.
All other policies regarding emergency haying and grazing remain in place. It is important for producers approved for emergency haying and grazing to understand the requirements and to follow their conservation plan to ensure long-term damage to the cover is avoided and minimum stubble height to ensure plant thermal cover is adequate.
Questions regarding this waiver and any other issues pertaining to CRP emergency haying and grazing, should be directed to local FSA offices.