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Published June 11, 2008, 12:00 AM

Federal grassland may open to grazing

A North Dakota drought task force wants all federal conservation grassland in the state open for grazing. The state’s Agricultural Drought Task Force approved the recommendation Tuesday to help drought-stricken ranchers. The request was forwarded to Gov. John Hoeven, the state’s congressional delegation and federal Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

BISMARCK (AP) — A North Dakota drought task force wants all federal conservation grassland in the state open for grazing.

The state’s Agricultural Drought Task Force approved the recommendation Tuesday to help drought-stricken ranchers. The request was forwarded to Gov. John Hoeven, the state’s congressional delegation and federal Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

State Agriculture Department spokesman Jeff Knudson says ranchers who live in or near areas categorized as having severe drought would be eligible to graze cattle on Conservation Reserve Program land anywhere in the state.

Knudson says ranchers in more than half of North Dakota’s 53 counties would be eligible. He says most of the drought-stricken counties are in the western half of North Dakota.

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