One of the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill was to simplify the designation to allow emergency haying and grazing on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP.) In the past requests began at the county level, then needed state approval and then approval from the national office. Now approval will be based on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Farmers that are in a county that has been designated in a severe drought (D2) or greater after the last day of the primary nesting will be eligible for emergency haying or grazing on all their acres that are eligible. In addition farmers that are in a county that was in a severe drought (D2) in just one week in the last eight weeks of the primary nesting season may also be eligible for emergency haying or grazing unless the local County Committee determines forage conditions no longer warrants the emergency.

We are fortunate in our local area that we have not seen sever drought conditions. However, not very far away north and west of the Metro area they are in a pretty severe drought along with most of Iowa. If you are in one of those drought areas be sure to contact your local Farm Service Agency office before you hay or graze any CRP land!