Gorgeous sunshine and high temperatures are not what local farmers are hoping for. They are nice if you are at the beach but producers are hoping and praying for some rain to try and save the crops that are suffering from the drought of 2012.
To help provide some relief for livestock producers, approval has been granted by Washington D.C. to permit haying or grazing on acreage that is in the Conservation Reserve Program and meets eligibility requirements.
The Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource-conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment.
In a year with ‘normal’ weather conditions, producers are not permitted to hay or graze the acreage. Due to the drought conditions we have been faced with, as an emergency relief measure, producers have been granted the opportunity to take advantage of any value the CRP acreage can provide for livestock producers on acreage devoted to specific practices.
The acreage may be hayed or grazed by the CRP participant or they may lease the land to another eligible livestock producer. There are restrictions and procedure that must be adhered to:
The CRP participant must request and receive permission to hay or graze the eligible CRP acreage.
The same acreage cannot be hayed and grazed. Fields to be hayed or grazed must be designated on an aerial photo.
Participant must obtain a modified conservation plan to include the haying or grazing requirements. If the haying or grazing privilege is being leased to another producer, they must sign a statement that they will not sublease the land and receive notification of approval in writing from the FSA office prior to beginning to hay or graze.
Emergency haying must be completed by Aug. 31.
Producers shall leave 50 percent of each field unhayed for wildlife. Haying will be limited to one cutting.
Participants are permitted to sell the hay harvested from the CRP acreage. Emergency grazing must be completed by Sept. 30.
Producers shall leave 25 percent of each field ungrazed for wildlife or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate determined by NRCS.
Participants will be assessed a 10 percent payment reduction on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed.
If this is an opportunity that you as a CRP participant would like to take advantage of, contact your local Farm Service Agency to obtain approval prior to starting the haying or grazing.
That’s all for now,