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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will open up to 6,000 acres of grasslands for haying and grazing to help farmers impacted by drought

The grasslands are enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program, but DNR officials feel the drought has left them with no other choice

“This has been one of the most challenging drought cycles Iowans have ever had to face and we want to be able to provide some additional options to our livestock producers,” said DNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman

Haying and grazing can start after Thursday once the primary nesting season for upland birds has been completed. 

The land available is primarily the upland grassland areas with wetland easements, however there are some additional opportunities for “flash grazing” in northeast Iowa and other limited opportunities on land not currently being leased.  Farmers would be responsible for setting up temporary fencing and watering tanks on these areas.

“The DNR is working very closely with the Governor’s Office and all of our stakeholders to make emergency livestock forage available and to make sure that we are helping those who need assistance the most,” said Trautman.

Farmers interested in this opportunity should contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 515-281-5918.