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USDA Extends CRP Grazing

If you're grazing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ground, depending on where you live, you may have more time than the traditional emergency grazing deadline of Sept. 30.

If you're grazing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ground, depending on where you live, you may have more time than the traditional emergency grazing deadline of Sept. 30.

On Friday, USDA announced an extended grazing period as late as Nov. 30 in some of the eligible states.

"Extremely dry weather conditions have created real hardships for farmers and ranchers in many parts of the country this year," says USDA Secretary Mike Johanns. "This emergency relief measure will provide feed and forage to producers who have lost hay stocks and grazing lands because of drought."

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.

According to USDA, state Farm Service Agency committees and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 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.

In related news, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is giving producers more time to purchase livestock to replace what they had to sell due to the drought 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 announcement 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."

Jordan explains a previous amendment to the Uniform Tax Code (supported by NCBA) extended the tax deferment period for weather-forced livestock sales, termed "involuntary conversions," from two years to four years. That same amendment also granted the Secretary of Treasury authority to further extend the deferral period.

According to NCBA, "IRS Notice 2006-82 explains how a taxpayer can determine whether additional time is available. In addition, the IRS plans to publish a list of counties that experienced exceptional, extreme or severe drought for the 12-month period ending Aug. 31, 2006."