The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to help ranchers affected by drought by allowing extended grazing on land set aside for conservation under a federal program.
The government gives ranchers in the Conservation Reserve Program rental payments for setting aside land for conservation, but officials can authorize emergency grazing there after natural disasters.
Typically emergency grazing runs through Sept. 30. This year, people approved for emergency grazing in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas can do so through Oct. 31, without extra reductions in their rental payments. Permission from the Farm Service Agency is required.
Ranchers nationwide also can use mechanically harvested hay from program acres being prepared for fall seeded crops instead of having to destroy it, but their rental payments will be 25 percent lower.