The American Farm Bureau Federation says farmers and ranchers claimed a major win today when a federal judge in Seattle ruled to conditionally allow haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acreage. Those provisions were part of the Critical Feed Use program announced in May by the Agriculture Department.
 
“The court recognized that this temporary USDA program will be of great benefit to farmers and ranchers in dealing with the increased costs of feeding livestock,” says Bob Stallman, AFBF president.
 
The program was designed by USDA to allow the use of CRP acreage for critical feed use. The program was challenged by a lawsuit from the National Wildlife Federation, claiming USDA did not follow proper procedure regarding an environmental assessment.
 
The judge issued a narrow permanent injunction to allow those producers with approved CRP contracts to continue operations through the program’s original Nov. 10 deadline. Farmers and ranchers who sent applications but have not received approvals will have their applications processed. If approved, those producers may hay until Sept. 30 or graze until Oct. 15.
 
Farmers and ranchers who have not yet sent applications may do so provided they submit in their application a statement explaining their reliance on the CFU program. The reliance statement should indicate whether the producer made investments or preparations of $4,500 or more and provide documentation. If the contract is approved, those producers also will be able to hay until Sept. 30 or graze until Oct. 15.

American Farm Bureau Federation