Refunds planned for landowners

(Note: Remember, just one dollar of federal handout -- which comes, by the way, from your taxpayer wallet in the first place -- establishes federal nexus, which can and likely will bring your land under federal regulations such as the Endangered Species Act and other land grabs. Ask yourself: Is the pittance that they hand out really worth the misery that will come, down the road? They even use the word 'dole' -- so you know that it really IS a form of welfare. They're so kind, to call it a 'refund.')

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Billings, Montana (AP) - The federal government is planning to dole out more than $16.4 million in refunds to landowners who saw reductions in their Conservation Reserve Program payments last year because of drought-related haying and grazing.

Landowners in Montana, Wyoming and 26 other states can expect refunds, the Farm Service Agency said Friday.

Money will go to those with land in CRP whose annual payments were cut, generally by about 25 percent, because of emergency haying or grazing, said Randy Johnson, the Farm Service Agency state executive director.

Under CRP, landowners are paid to idle farmland for 10 to 15 years, with the FSA making yearly rental payments and sharing with landowners the cost of putting in place certain conservation methods. But the government last year allowed for emergency haying and grazing in areas hardest hit by drought.

Montana landowners are expected to receive about $4.2 million, the biggest share of the refund total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 919,000 acres in CRP were either hayed or grazed by cattle, Johnson said.

"Montana used the program most heavily last year," Johnson said.

It was not immediately clear how the refunds would be issued, or when the agency would begin issuing them.

In South Dakota, nearly $1.6 million in refunds were announced. More than $1.5 million were expected in North Dakota and about $1.3 million in Nebraska.

Wyoming landowners were expected to receive $204,451 in refunds, USDA said.