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Seeking Solutions to Loss of CRP Grazing

15 July 2008

US – Cattle Producers in drought-stricken areas of the United States are becoming concerned about their survival after learning that a federal judge halted the grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided to initiate the Critical Feed Use (CFU) program to help cattle farmers and ranchers by allowing grazing and hay production on CRP land because of drought and other natural disasters and because of the high costs of feed. The plaintiffs in this case assert that USDA should have conducted an environmental impact assessment before launching the Critical Feed Use program. A full hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 17.


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"Any piece of CRP I’ve ever used is improved over the long-term. We’re not going to abuse the CRP land."
Gerald Schreiber, rancher

“If these groups are worried about an environmental impact statement, they ought to look at the condition of the native range, which has taken a beating, and this program was going to be the bridge to try to get us down the road,” said R-CALF USA Member Gerald Schreiber, who ranches near Woodrow, Colo. “Any piece of CRP I’ve ever used is improved over the long-term. We’re not going to abuse the CRP land.

“This decision is a real slap,” he continued. “People have been fencing. They’ve been anticipating this because hay is $150 a ton or more. This will continue to cause damage to our native range because you no longer have any options for moving your cattle. This decision affects your psyche. It just wears on you. With corn as expensive as it is now, it’s a real quandary.”

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said the group supports USDA’s efforts to provide assistance to cattle producers stricken by drought, floods and other natural disasters, and that the group will continue to explore how producers in drought-stricken areas can obtain needed relief.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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