If you're grazing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ground, you may have more time than the traditional emergency-grazing deadline of Sept. 30. USDA announced an extended grazing period as late as Nov. 30 in some eligible states.

The 30 eligible states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

State Farm Service Agency committees and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service state technical committees must agree on the need for the emergency grazing extensions before they're finalized. Once approved, producers in the 30 states may graze CRP land until the following dates in 2006:

  • Oct. 20 — Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

  • Nov. 10 — Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

  • Nov. 30 — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

In mid-July, USDA announced the expansion of eligible CRP acreage for emergency grazing and haying in Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. The expanded area radiates 150 miles out from any county approved for emergency haying and grazing in any above-mentioned state.

Additionally, USDA says CRP rental payments will be reduced by only 10% instead of the standard 25% on CRP lands grazed in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is giving producers more time to purchase livestock to replace drought-forced sales of a few years ago.

“Some producers are coming to the end of their four-year replacement period,” says Jason Jordan, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) manager of legislative affairs. “This means ranchers still dealing with horrific effects of the drought will not have to restock their herds until one year after the official end of their drought conditions.”