ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- A severe livestock forage shortage has prompted state wildlife managers to identify 922 acres on 43 wildlife management areas (WMA) in 22 Minnesota counties where emergency haying will benefit wildlife, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.
Because of a forage shortage due to winter kill of alfalfa and the late spring, Gov. Mark Dayton in June sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking that all federal conservation lands in Minnesota be considered as potential sources of emergency forage. He also asked state officials to identify similar grazing and haying opportunities on state conservation lands where consistent with the purpose of those lands.
DNR officials said wildlife managers were not able to identify any other conservation grazing opportunities beyond those already planned because of the limited time and lack of existing infrastructure such as fencing and water supplies.
Only Minnesota livestock producers who need forage for their own livestock are eligible to cut hay on WMAs. Counties with potential sites include Blue Earth, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Kittson, Le Sueur, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Nicollet, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Roseau, Sibley, Wabasha, Wilkin and Winona.
Livestock producers have until Friday, Aug. 9, to contact area wildlife managers about emergency haying opportunities. Contact information for area wildlife managers by county is available at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_wildlife/wildlife/wildlife_managers.pdf.
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