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Additional CRP acres released for emergency haying, grazing

 
Staff report
updated: 8/7/2012 2:30 PM

In response to the expanding drought, Scherrie V. Giamanco, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Illinois, announced the addition of eight Conservation Reserve Program practices that livestock producers and other participants in the CRP will now be able to emergency hay and graze, according to a release from the USDA.

"Many of these additional acres have wetland-related characteristics and are likely to contain better quality hay and forage than on other CRP acres," said Giamanco.

The additional acreage struggling farmers will now be able to utilize for haying or grazing include areas considered highly-erodible or wetlands that are not often released for haying or grazing, except in extreme circumstances like the current drought.

The payment reduction for emergency haying and grazing has been reduced from 25-percent of the rental payment per acre to 10 percent for the 2012 year, the release said.

Emergency haying is available now through Aug. 31. Participants must leave at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field unhayed for wildlife. Hay that is baled may be given away or sold. All hay must be removed from the field by August 31.

Emergency grazing is allowed now through Sept. 30. Participants must leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field ungrazed, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate. All livestock must be removed by September 30.

Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Haying and grazing occurs only under strict compliance rules to help minimize impacts on these special practices. USDA will conduct follow-up monitoring and evaluation of these opened CRP areas to study the effects of the drought and USDA's emergency haying and grazing actions.

For more information on FSA's emergency haying and grazing of CRP acreage or other drought assistance, contact your local FSA office or visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov.