Marshall, Craig introduce bill to allow grazing on CRP land
Reps. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Angie Craig, D-Minn., introduced H.R. 7108, the Pandemic Authority Suitable To Utilize Reserve Easements (PASTURE) Act, bipartisan legislation amending the Food Security Act of 1985 to allow for grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Tina Smith, R-Minn., introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“Kansas livestock owners were among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19 and they continue to face hurdles as a result of the virus’s impact on all segments of the industry,” said Marshall.
“I am honored to work with Rep. Craig and Sens. Thune and Smith on this much-needed legislative fix that will provide another opportunity for relief for our ranchers back home. I will continue to do everything I can to help our farm and ranch families overcome the devastating impacts of the coronavirus so they can continue to produce the highest quality, safest, and most affordable food, fiber, and fuel in the world.”
“Our farmers have been hit particularly hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Craig. “I’m proud to partner with Rep. Marshall and Sens. Smith and Thune on a bipartisan solution to the affordable forage shortage Minnesota farmers may be facing this year.“
“By adding pandemics to CRP emergency flexibility, we are modernizing conservation policy to address the complex emergencies facing our farmers and ranchers. I will always support bipartisan, common sense solutions to help our family farmers and livestock producers in their times of need.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauded the introduction of the bill.
“Yesterday’s introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral PASTURE Act is a welcome step toward providing grazing flexibility to livestock producers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane.
“As farmers and ranchers are keeping and feeding livestock for longer periods of time, Congress must ensure that producers do not face a forage shortage. Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acreage is a relied upon practice for livestock and forage management. The PASTURE Act gives USDA the ability to open CRP acreage for emergency haying and grazing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
NCBA noted that 35 of its state affiliates signed a letter to Congress urging action on the issue. ❖
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