March 08, 2005

Idaho Delegation Commends Flexibility Added To Haying And Grazing

Congressional delegation requested ability for locally-determined start and end dates

Washington, DC â?? The members of Idahoâ??s Congressional delegation, Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, are pleased with todayâ??s announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow states more flexibility in implementing haying and grazing guidelines. Under the Federal Register notice published May 1, 2003, all haying and grazing had to occur after the national primary nesting season. However, the Idaho delegation wanted flexibility for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho to better determine where and when haying and grazing would be safe for nesting and broodrearing concerns. Under the agreement announced today, Idaho and other states are given flexibility to adjust the haying and grazing season start and end dates to accommodate local needs.â??This determination is great news for farmers and ranchers facing continuing drought conditions,â?? Craig said. â??Policies like these should be made with local input and cooperative decision making and this announcement is a step in the right direction. I applaud the action the Farm Service Agency has taken on emergency haying and grazing and look forward to working with them as the summer months progress.â??Crapo, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, â??Those at the local level are best able to determine the haying and grazing needs of farmers and ranchers. I am pleased that the new agreement recognized the importance of local input, and will allow the ability to adjust the CRP season for the betterment of all. This will make the entire program more successful not only for agricultural producers, but also for the environment.â??â??We've struggled with achieving flexibility in this program for the last few years and I am hopeful this change will be part of the solution we've been seeking,â?? said Simpson.  â??Too many Idaho ranchers have faced multiple years of drought and difficulty finding feed for their livestock.  The CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing Program is one of the tools we must have at our disposal now and in the future to help ranchers through tough years.â??Otter said, â??It's encouraging when the government listens to folks here at home and applies common sense to problems on the ground. Wildlife habitat is important, but drought doesn't follow federal guidelines. It's good to know the program will allow enough flexibility to make it work for real ranchers with real livestock rather than some statistical model.â??