OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lower or eliminate fees to participants in a land conservation program who took part in emergency grazing and haying.

Landowners in the Conservation Reserve Program are paid to keep their land out of production. They are assessed a 25 percent fee if the land is utilized.

A letter to the U.S.D.A. from the senators says the fee should be at least reduced because the landowners were assisting during a period of severe drought that left livestock producers searching for ways to feed their animals.

During previous times of severe weather the USDA reduced payments to CRP participants by up to 15 percent -- rather than 25 percent.

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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