Conservation Land Needed For Grazing, Still in Limbo - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Conservation Land Needed For Grazing, Still in Limbo

Conservation Reserve Program land recently opened by the United States Department of Agriculture for grazing, has now been temporarily shut down by a federal judge in Seattle.

The Government pays ranchers to keep conservation reserve program land, or CRP land, in it's natural state.

But because of the drought ranchers need to send cattle onto these lands that haven't been grazed in years.

 The lack of grass lead ranchers in the area to turn to other options.

"The CRP was going to let us rest our native grass. Not being allowed to use it. I'll be forced to sell my cattle and that's my source of income," said Michelle Aduddell, a Sherman County Rancher.

Michelle Aduddell is facing a problem like many Panhandle ranchers.

She has grass land that could save her herd.

But until further notice she can't allow cattle on this land.

"A judge in Washington State put a temporary 10 day injunction on the critical feed program and that's what we were enrolled in. Cattle have to be pulled off until this court case is settled," Aduddell said.

Aduddell says she needs to use this overgrown CRP land because feed prices and drought have left her with no other choice.

Now this federal decision has halted that.

"I personally don't see how a judge in Washington state has say over me in the state of Texas when he doesn't even know my conditions," Aduddell said.

If the critical feed program is shut down ranchers will be left with two options, take a 25 percent pay cut on their CRP land, or sell their herd.

Both of which, eliminate income and livelyhood.

"Now, It's basically shut our industry down because there's not an alternative," Aduddell said.

The court hearings will be back under way Thursday in Seattle to determine the future of the Critical Feed Program.

For more information on the CRP program: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/crpcriticalfeed08.pdf

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