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7 Minnesota counties cleared for emergency haying, grazing

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Minnesota farmers in seven counties have been cleared for emergency haying and grazing, the Minnesota Farm Guide reports.

The counties cleared to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program include Carver, Kittson, Le Sueur, McLeod, Rock, Roseau and Sibley.

“Additional grazing acres and forage will now be available to help livestock producers recover from the severe shortage of forage, particularly in south-central Minnesota,” Minnesota Farm Service Agency Executive Director, Debra Crusoe tells the Farm Guide. “This is good news for livestock producers in the region, and comes at a very critical time when many livestock producers are facing the decision of whether or not to liquidate their herds.”

According to the USDA's Farm Service Agency, "Haying and grazing of [Conservation Reserve Program] acreage is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters."

Farmers in the seven counties in Minnesota qualified for the program because they experienced unusually heavy rain through mid-July and sustained at least a 40 percent loss of available feed because of the conditions, the Farm Guide says.

The emergency haying period ends Aug. 31, and bales must be removed from Conservation Reserve Program acres by Sept. 15, the Farm Guide says. The emergency grazing period ends Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, farmers are taking advantage of the dry weather in the past week to make progress on the small-grain harvest in the state, the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service says in its weekly report. In fact, the report says, farmers would like to see a bit more moisture.

"In spite of the heavy precipitation received earlier in the season, most Minnesota farmers would like to see their row crops receive additional moisture," the NASS report says.

Nationwide, the AP reports, a milder summer has provided optimal growing condition for corn and soybeans. The USDA has predicted a record soybean crop of 3.8 billion bushels. Last month, the USDA said the nation's corn crop would be big, but wouldn't top last year's record yield of 13.9 billion bushels.

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