USDA extends emergency CRP grazing for fire stricken ranchers
The USDA has approved emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to aid ranchers devastated by the ongoing wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Ranchers are now beginning to assess losses – and damages are expected to grow. Kansas ranchers estimate between 3,000 and 9,000 head of cattle were lost, more than 600,000 acres burned – primarily pastureland, and the estimated cost to repair fencing exceeds $36-million. Oklahoma ranchers have lost approximately 3,000 head of cattle, nearly 400,000 acres burned, and the estimated cost of fencing destroyed is more than $22-million. Ranchers in Texas have lost approximately 3,000 head of cattle and 1,900 swine, more than 550,000 acres burned, with thousands of miles of fences expected to be a total loss.
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says the affected producers are struggling to feed what is left of their herds and need access to timely, deliverable assistance
In Kansas the counties affected include Clark, Comanche, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Hodgeman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Meade, Ness, Russell, and Seward. In Oklahoma the counties include Beaver, Ellis, Harper, Roger Mills, Woodward, and Woods. And the counties affected in Texas include Armstrong, Carson, Collingsworth, Donley, Gray, Hansford, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, and Wheeler.
Producers wishing to graze on CRP lands already enrolled in contracts with the USDA should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.