Tuesday, April 04, 2017

President directs emergency grazing for states affected by wildfires

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, acting in response to a directive from President Donald Trump, authorized April 4 emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands located in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas – the three states most heavily affected by ongoing wildfires, which began on March 6, 2017. USDA acting deputy secretary Michael L. Young issued a memorandum authorizing the emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers, who are facing the ruination of their herds due to a lack of sufficient grazing land. The authorization is pursuant to appropriate restrictions and conservation measures, which can be found in Young’s memorandum. “The ranchers and farmers in the region have suffered the loss of thousands of heads of cattle and hogs as well as significant property damage,” Trump said in a memo to Young. “This relief will allow those affected to care for their remaining livestock.” Following the President’s directive, Young issued a memorandum authorizing the emergency grazing...The USDA action is required to direct the Farm Service Agency to permit the grazing on lands covered by the CRP, which exists to conserve and improve wildlife resources. In this case, the grazing will overlap with the primary nesting season of the lesser prairie chicken. CRP has procedures in place, already developed with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to permit emergency grazing on protected lands during nesting season. Lesser prairie chicken nesting season runs from March 1 to June 1 in Texas, from April 15 to July 15 in Kansas and from May 1 to July 1 in Oklahoma...more

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