Agency pushing for farmer-friendly rules

By Sarah Meyer: CNJ staff writer

The Farm Service Agency is pushing for more farmer-friendly grazing and haying rules on Conservation Reserve Program land.

The FSA is proposing rule changes that would allow managed haying once every five years and managed grazing once every three years.

About 100,000 acres in Curry County were re-enrolled in CRP in 2007 for 10-year contracts that allow managed haying or grazing once every 10 years, said Rachel Armstrong, FSA district conservationist in Curry County.

The proposed changes would apply only to lands enrolled in CRP after Sept. 25, 2006, and to existing CRP contracts that did not include managed haying and grazing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is holding meetings in 13 states to gather public input on the proposed changes, which will be used as part of an environmental assessment that could be used to justify more frequent haying or grazing.

There is a meeting in Clovis on April 10.