FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2017
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202-554-1600
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today authorized the release of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota for emergency haying and grazing. The announcement came just days after a number of elected officials, National Farmers Union, and several Farmers Union state divisions urged USDA to address severe drought conditions in the Upper Great Plains. In response to the decision, NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
We have been hearing from our members in all of North Dakota and parts of South Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota that feed supply is rapidly dwindling. Many producers have already been forced to make the difficult choice to downsize their herd. Without relief, many more would have to make the same decision. Such significant herd downsizing, especially in the context of a flooded market and low prices, threatens the long-term viability of many of these ranches.
NFU applauds the USDA’s decision to listen to the requests of family farmers and ranchers and authorize emergency grazing on CRP land. Providing immediate assistance will prevent further downsizing, and will ultimately protect producers’ livelihoods should the drought persist in these three states.
We also ask that USDA continue to monitor the drought conditions in Minnesota and revise this authority accordingly.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.