With the hot, dry weather making it difficult for Iowa livestock producers, Iowa’s U.S. senators, Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin, are seeking an extension of a deadline to harvest hay on acres set aside under the Conservation Reserve Program.
In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the senators contend that a two-day emergency release of CRP acres on Aug. 29 did not provide enough time for many farmers to cut, dry and bale hay to meet the Aug. 31 deadline for the program.
“These producers did not get the benefit from CRP access that should have helped mitigate the short supply of hay for the upcoming winter,” Grassley and Harkin said in a letter.
“As the former governor of Iowa, you certainly understand the importance of livestock production to our state and share our concern for Iowa livestock producers as they deal with a second year of drought conditions that have severely strained forage supplies.”
The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor issued Thursday indicated that large portions of Iowa are classified as either severe or moderate drought.
“Cattle producers tell us they are having difficulty finding an adequate supply of hay, and many of their pastures are too dry to support their herds at this time,” Grassley and Harkin noted.