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Thornberry urges USDA Secretary to extend Emergency Use of CRP Lands

Washington, March 22, 2017 | Jon Corley (202-225-3706)

U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Secretary Michael Young requesting that he provide a 60-day extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands for the Texas Panhandle Fires. The text of the letter is below.

“I am writing to respectfully request a 60-day extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands for the Texas Panhandle Fires.

“As you are aware, many counties in the Texas Panhandle recently experienced devastating wildfires. With almost 500,000 acres burned, thousands of miles of fence destroyed, and more than 2,000 head of livestock killed by smoke and flames; livestock producers are in dire need of places to house remaining livestock while fencing is re-established in these disaster areas.

“While the 30-day emergency use that has been approved by the USDA is very welcome and appreciated, I have heard from several producers that will not be able to build fences in time to meet the short deadlines. Replanting grasses and finding other sources of forage within a month’s time will also be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Additionally, there are several counties in my district that experienced heavy losses that are only eligible for grazing once every three years.

“Along with falling prices for cattle and our recent lack of rain, this disaster has certainly added additional uncertainty to affected producers. An extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands would provide a better opportunity for fencing to be rebuilt while providing a safe home for livestock. It will also help these struggling producers recover and get back on their feet.

“Within your rules and regulations, I ask that you give this request your full and prompt considerations. I look forward to our continued and shared work to ensure the viability of our nation’s agricultural producers.”

A copy of the letter can be downloaded here.