Muscatine County approved for emergency grazing
The Farm Service Agency has authorized emergency grazing on federal conservation land in Muscatine County in the latest sign of worsening drought across the state.
The emergency authorization for Muscatine County land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, runs until Sept. 30, the Muscatine Journal reported Saturday, Sept. 7.
The federal program pays farmers and ranchers not to plant, hay or graze in soil that could easily erode or is an ideal habitat for grassland, wetlands and wildlife.
Emergency grazing and haying is sometimes allowed when forage for livestock is low, usually due to drought or wildfires.
Those interested in emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres must first get approval from the Farm Service Agency.
Those who participate will receive a 10 percent cut in their CRP payments and must either leave at least 25 percent of each field ungrazed.
A map last updated on Tuesday on the Farm Service Agency's website shows 36 Iowa counties have been approved for emergency grazing and haying on CRP land.
According to the latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday, about 98 percent of Iowa is in some level of drought.
That's down slightly from the week before, but the area of the state in severe drought expanded to 32 percent from 22 percent from the previous week.