USDA approves emergency grazing in eastern Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved emergency haying and grazing on land normally used for the Conservation Reserve Program in parts of eastern Idaho.

Officials in Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Madison and Power counties requested the emergency access because of drought and crop damage. The USDA's Farm Service Agency in Idaho announced Monday that the requests were approved.

The emergency haying is allowed through the end of August, and participants must leave at least half of each field unhayed for wildlife. The hay can't be sold.

Emergency grazing is approved through the end of September. Livestock must be removed earlier if the average minimum forage height reaches 5 inches.

Aaron Johnson with the Farm Service Agency says that releasing the protected ground will help livestock producers maintain their current herds.