Farm Bureau Urges USDA’s Action on Emergency Hay and Grazing
Earlier this year, an unusual late freeze in April stunted thousands of acres of alfalfa and grass, creating hay shortages for many of Missouri’s farmers and ranchers. To help create the opportunity for additional hay, Missouri Farm Bureau is urging USDA to immediately authorize emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres in the state.
Following is the letter Missouri Farm Bureau President Charles Kruse sent today to USDA’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns:
“On behalf of Missouri Farm Bureau, we urge you to immediately authorize emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in our state. Granting this request will provide much needed forage at a time when farmers and ranchers are very worried about the limited supply of hay.
Earlier this summer you designated 104 counties in Missouri primary disaster areas because of the losses caused by freezing temperatures in April. The freeze killed or stunted thousands of acres of alfalfa and grass forage for hay, causing a dramatic decline in hay production again this season. According to the Missouri Farm Service Agency, both quantity and quality forage losses exceed 40 percent in some areas of the state.
Producers are extremely concerned about the availability and price of hay after consecutive years of drought depleted supplies and resulted in shortages this past winter. Allowing farmers to graze or hay their CRP acreage will alleviate some of their forage needs, but time is of the essence. Furthermore, we would encourage you to reduce or waive altogether the rental rate reduction for producers if the emergency release is granted.”