Today, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that 22 counties in Indiana are authorized for emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands, Congressman Joe Donnelly released the following statement:
"I am pleased that the USDA and the Indiana Farm Service Agency authorized the emergency grazing of CRP acres," said Donnelly. "The drought has caused Indiana's fields to suffer, limiting the food options for the livestock that rely on those crops from those fields for food. Today's announcement authorizing 22 counties for emergency grazing will give farmers more flexibility as they seek to provide adequate hay and forage to feed their livestock."
Two of the 22 authorized counties, Cass and Fulton, are located in Indiana's Second Congressional District, which Donnelly represents.
Farmers interested in emergency grazing of CRP should request written approval from the local FSA office before grazing the acreage. Under previous openings, farmers would have received a 25 percent annual payment reduction for CRP acres used for emergency grazing, but Secretary Vilsack recently announced that they will only receive a 10 percent reduction.
In late June, Donnelly and three of his Republican colleagues in the Indiana congressional delegation, Congressman Todd Rokita , Congressman Larry Bucshon, and Congressman Mike Pence, sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack urging him to promptly consider a request for emergency haying and grazing to aid the Hoosier agricultural industry