Hoeven, Heitkamp, Cramer: USDA to Allow Emergency Grazing on CRP Lands for North Dakota Ranchers Impacted by Drought Conditions

Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow North Dakota ranchers access to emergency grazing of conservation reserve program (CRP) acres in areas experiencing drought conditions. Earlier this month, the delegation pressed USDA to open CRP lands to North Dakota ranchers impacted by drought conditions.

“We appreciate USDA opening up CRP lands for grazing to help our ranchers who have been hard hit by drought conditions,” said Hoeven. “We will continue working with USDA to provide assistance, including emergency haying, to help support our producers through these challenging times.”

“After pushing Secretary Perdue to help North Dakota ranchers weather this drought, USDA has agreed to our request to allow folks to begin emergency haying and grazing in drought-stricken counties,” said Heitkamp. “Countless ranchers have told us how dire the drought is across our state, especially in the western and central regions, where folks have already had to sell off too many cattle – and this emergency action will provide at least some relief. North Dakota is only as strong as our farming and ranching communities, which is why we’re fighting to make sure folks can weather this drought.” 

“This fast action by Secretary Perdue provides much-needed relief for our livestock producers who remain under severe stress,” said Cramer. “Moving forward, we will continue to monitor drought conditions, and work together to lessen the burden during these trying times for our ranchers.” 

The emergency grazing is open for acres experiencing drought conditions in categories D2 or higher on the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is available here. Interested ranchers should contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office to access the emergency grazing acres.