FSA Andy for Oct. 29, 2009

Hello again, friends!

Halloween at my house usually brings a pleasant diversion from harvest, or lack of harvest as the case may be.

The kids always start planning their Halloween alter-egos several weeks in advance. Of course, there is some parental guidance. “No, you can not be a belly dancer” and “No, you can not use real blood” were two phrases I used this year that I hoped I never had to use. We have come a long way from my days trick-or-treating as a hobo.

This year’s harvest may very well end up like a trick or treat bag. Some places you go will have a really nice treat, and some other places will have treats, but not as good as what you received other years.

This is why I think that harvest time is a great time of the year to be considering a couple practices under the Conservation Reserve Program. The Conservation Reserve Program allows landowners and producers to take environmentally sensitive land out of production and idle it in exchange for an annual rental payment.

Rental payments are based upon the productivity of the soil, so better producing ground will receive a higher annual payment.

As crops are harvested, producers can identify the annually underperforming areas of their fields. Many of these areas are along streams or rivers that see wildlife damage, or along tree lines.

These acres are good candidates for installing some type of buffer practice. Filter strips, quail buffers and riparian areas are all practices that can effectively improve productivity.

These practices are available on acreage planted to an agricultural commodity four out of the six years between 1996 and 2001. Your local office can help you review records to determine if your proposed acreage meets this guideline.

Your local FSA office can also tell you the soil rental rate associated with your offer. These particular practices offer an annual rental rate that is 20 percent higher than normal practices.

Incentive payments are also available for these types of “priority” practices. A signing bonus of $100 per acre for qualifying practices, plus a practice incentive bonus that pays up to 90 percent cost share to establish your practice, are in addition to any annual rental rate.

Waterway construction is also available under Conservation Reserve Program, with this same 90 percent cost share available for installation. The acreage must again meet cropping history requirements and the waterway must be installed according to NRCS specifications.

All something to think about as that combine rolls along.

Remember to practice safety out on the farm this fall, and here is hoping you have a great harvest!

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy

About the Author

FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio. More Stories by FSA Andy

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