Drought sparks discussion on CRP grazing

The drought is raising questions about the effectiveness of emergency programs for livestock producers.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association CEO Matt Deppe says forage costs are rising in the driest parts of the country.

“Because of the shortness in the forage harvesting availability, or even grazing availability, we’re all trying to buckle down and figure that one out. But I think it also provides a good opportunity to really look at programs like the Conservation Reserve Program.”

He tells Brownfield occasionally grazing cattle on CRP ground would help farmers and the environment.

“I guarantee that grass, if it’s kept in a vegetative state, does a heck of a lot better job of sequestering carbon into the ground than just a fallow stand of brown grass sitting up there. So with the drought and emergency haying and grazing, it really kind of gets us pivoting into farm bill discussions.”

Deppe says in southern Iowa especially, there are concerns that CRP provides too much competition for pasture acres.

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