The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is providing information to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers in need of assistance due to prolonged dry conditions in the state.
“The U.S. Drought Monitor has updated its drought status. In Nebraska, abnormally dry conditions in parts of the state have intensified. The Department is receiving reports of rapidly deteriorating pasture and field conditions,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “In response to the worsening conditions, we are outlining several tools that are available for farmers and ranchers to utilize.”
Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP
Several counties in Nebraska are authorized for emergency haying or grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. This is a result of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue making the authorization available for counties in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in D2 or greater stages of drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Any county in Nebraska with a border that falls within 150 miles of those D2 or greater designated drought areas in those three states are eligible for the emergency haying or grazing. A map of those counties can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne, or by clicking here.
Landowners interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP acres must contact their local FSA office for details on eligibility requirements and prior to taking any action on CRP acres. To find a local FSA office, go to offices.usda.gov.
Haying of Roadside Right-of-Ways
The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) authorizes permitted haying of roadside right-of-ways. Permitted haying is allowed by abutting land owners until July 31st, and open to the public for permitted haying beginning August 1st. For details on haying roadside right-of-ways and to obtain permits contact the NDOT Maintenance Office in your district.
NDA Hay Hotline
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture offers a resource for farmers and ranchers looking to buy or sell hay. The Hay & Forage Hotline can be found on the NDA website. Sellers can post their information on the site themselves or contact NDA at 800-422-6692. The list of sellers is posted on the website and is updated on a regular basis.
Fire Suppression Efforts
On July 18, Governor Ricketts authorized the issuance of an Emergency Proclamation relating to fire retardant materials. This proclamation will allow the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to replenish fire retardant materials which have been partially depleted by fire suppression efforts in Nebraska and by assisting other states with wildfires which have been aided by drought conditions. The proclamation will allow the Adjutant General greater flexibility for wildfire suppression efforts.
The NDA Drought Central Website contains information on all these programs and will be continually updated with valuable resources. It can be found at droughtcentral.nebraska.gov
“My agency and I appreciate the proactive response by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Governor Ricketts and the resources being made available through various agencies of the State of Nebraska,” said Ibach. “NDA will continue to monitor the states drought conditions closely and provide further assistance when appropriate.”