State announces more drought-relief options for farmers

USDA alters conservation programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is altering rules to allow haying and grazing on lands enrolled in conservation programs, and in some cases extending those opportunities to farmers whose land is classified as “abnormally dry” rather than “under severe drought.”

The USDA also is encouraging crop insurance companies to offer a short grace period on interest for unpaid crop insurance premiums, as some farming families may struggle to make ends meet at the close of the crop year.

The flexibility affects four USDA programs: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Federal Crop Insurance Program.

Gov. Scott Walker commended the USDA for coordinated efforts to ease the burden on farmers during the most widespread drought the U.S. has seen in seven decades.

“This action is another step toward relief and recovery for farmers here in Wisconsin and across the Midwest,” Walker said.

To learn more about these specific changes, contact your county USDA-Farm Service Agency office. For information and resources to address widespread effects of the drought and record heat in Wisconsin, go to http://ready.wi.gov.