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      34 Texas counties open for emergency grazing

      The USDA Farm Service Agency has announced 34 counties in Texas have been authorized for emergency grazing use of the Conservation Reserve Program for the fiscal year 2013.

      Due to the drought, wheat is in short supply. Many ranchers have been forced to sell their cattle. But thanks to emergency grazing, some ranchers now have another option.

      "The main purpose for the CRP program is to keep the conservation- keep the land in tact- where it's not going to create a Dust Bowl type of scenario," Potter/Armstrong/Oldham Counties Farm Service Agencies Executive Director Adam Acker said. "And the other reason is because of the primary nesting season for wildlife."

      The Texas FSA State Committee decided CRP grazing grounds are available for CRP lands that were not used for haying or grazing the last two years. Under this plan, land owners will receive a 25 percent payment reduction from their annual CRP contracts.

      "The program allows producers to keep cover on this highly erodible land in most cases in return for a payment," Ackers said. "They are not allowed to do anything with the land except keep the cover on it."

      Authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock, and they can grant other livestock producers use of the land, as well.

      Below is a list of emergency grazing counties in Texas:









      -Deaf Smith