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Harkin Commends USDA Haying Decision for Iowa Counties Affected by Disaster

Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Tom Harkin

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on Friday commended the decision of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to release acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for haying in Iowa counties impacted by flooding. Harkin, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has repeatedly urged CRP acres for haying, and led a letter from the Iowa delegation yesterday to that end.

According to USDA officials, the Secretary has agreed to release CRP acres for livestock haying in counties recently designated as Presidential Disaster Areas and contiguous counties because of flooding. On July 7th, the Secretary released acres in these counties for grazing.

“The disaster caused by this summer’s flooding has forced us to look at new ways to allow Iowa producers to provide for livestock,” said Harkin. “It was critical for USDA to release CRP lands for grazing. Yet it is important for producers in Iowa – many of whom no longer have fencing or livestock watering facilities on their CRP land – to be able to use CRP hay to feed their livestock or to market it. Emergency haying and grazing is permitted on lands affected by drought, and with the nesting season over, it only made sense to open this land for haying.

“I have spoken to and written Secretary Schafer several times over the last month urging him to expand the emergency release of CRP acres related to flooding to allow for haying as well as grazing, so I commend him on this decision today,” Harkin concluded.

According to USDA, haying will be allowed in the following counties: Adair, Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clay, Clarke, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Dallas, Davis, Decatur, Delaware, Des Monies, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Muscatine, O’Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Scott, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth, Wright

The following stipulations will apply: The haying will be limited to one cutting at a 25% payment reduction. Fifty percent of the field or contiguous fields must be left unhayed because of wildlife and haying must end by Sept 30, 2008.

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