Mark Udall today announced that agricultural producers in eight Colorado counties are now eligible for emergency haying and grazing on lands enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): Routt, Moffat, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Logan, Phillips, Weld and Yuma counties. The emergency authorization comes on the heels of President Barack Obama's designating Colorado as a natural disaster area due to devastating wildfires across the state, coupled with severe drought conditions.
"The wildfire and severe drought affecting Coloradans threaten crops, livestock and rural livelihoods on some environmentally sensitive lands," Udall said. "I urge Colorado's agricultural producers to take full advantage of the emergency haying and grazing program to help ensure their livestock and bottom lines are not harmed by these severe conditions."
Udall, along with Sen. Michael Bennet, wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for federal assistance to help Colorado farmers and ranchers protect against financial and operational losses due to severe drought conditions.
Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acreage may be authorized in times of severe drought or other natural disasters. Under the CRP, the USDA provides financial assistance to farmers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land, improve water quality - especially critical in Colorado - control soil erosion, and protect Colorado's wildlife for both conservation and hunting activities. For more information on the CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov.