CRP Land Back Open For Grazing - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

CRP Land Back Open For Grazing

Rick Hale, Hale Angus Farm Rick Hale, Hale Angus Farm

A government program could save the cattle industry.

That's what many ranchers around the area are saying after a Federal judge ruled grazing and haying can continue on conservation land.

When the month started farmers and ranchers enrolled in the Critical Feed Program, were able to hay and graze land that the government pays them to keep native.

Since 1985 the U.S. Department of Agriculture has paid farmers who have Conservation Reserve Program land.

This year, for the first time, the Critical Feed Program offered a break because the price to feed cattle has skyrocketed.

"We were out of hay and it's been a lifesaver for us," said Rick Hale of Hale Angus Farm in Randall County.

The Texas Panhandle makes up 97 percent of the total Critical Feed Use for the entire state.

And for the past two weeks a federal restraining order has kept ranchers from allowing cattle to graze and kept farmers from haying open fields.

"It's very important to have it right now. We feel real fortunate to have it right now. Cattle wouldn't be doing too good just eating those dry cotton," said Hale

Before the Critical Feed Use, farmers and ranchers would have to pay back 25 percent of their conservation reserve program stipend if they grazed cattle on these reserves.

"We sure needed CRP grazing to get through the summer, we're eligible to graze on it till next November so we can get them through the winder then we'll just hope and pray we'll have something for them to eat by then," said Hale.

Rick Hale says this program is just enough to keep him in business until next year.

We tried to contact the USDA for a comment on the critical feed use being put back in place, but all local offices are under a gag order.

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