Governors ask USDA for wildfire relief action

Governors ask USDA for wildfire relief action

13 March 2017

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USA — The governors from four states affected by wildifres are seeking temporary suspension of grazing restrictions in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for farmers and ranchers because of wildfires.

The governors of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico sent a letter Friday to acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young asking that restrictions to the CRP be lifted to provide more land for grazing. The fires have burned more than 2,300 square miles in the four states, forcing farmers and ranchers to move their livestock.

“These fires have also devastated critical infrastructure, including fencing, on farms and ranches in our states,” the governors wrote. “The Emergency Conservation Program provides critical financial resources to affected farmers and ranchers to rebuild fences. We urge the Farm Service Agency to expedite the implementation of the Emergency Conservation program in our states.”

According to the agency, emergency grazing of CRP land is authorized under certain conditions to provide relief to livestock producers due to some natural disasters.

Cost-share up to 75% will be available to restore livestock fences if the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) is renewed. To get the most benefit from ECP, landowners should contact FSA before rebuilding fence.

The Kansas Livestock Association is urging ranchers to immediately notify their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office of livestock, fence and feed losses. Notification can come in the form of a phone call, email or in person.

The key to qualifying for any of these programs is documenting losses. USDA recommends photographs, video or veterinary records to verify losses. Purchase, production and financial records could serve as additional documentation.

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