Ask FSA Andy before you mow that CRP ground

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Hello Again!

As you read this, Memorial Day is right around the corner, welcoming THE “official start of the summer season.”

Maybe you will celebrate the day with a barbecue and a visit to the cemetery. Maybe you will attend a parade or maybe you will spend it in the seat of a tractor trying to take advantage of a good day of weather to get the crops in the ground or getting that first hay off the field.

No matter how you celebrate Memorial Day, I hope you will take the time to give thanks to the veterans who laid down their lives so that we are able to celebrate Memorial Day how we chose.

Monday, May 25, is a day to honor our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and sons and daughters who have paid the ultimate price while serving their country. Let us not forget that for every sword we have ever made into a plowshare, we have also, at times, turned those plowshares into swords when we have had to.

For that, I give thanks to all who have went before me while in the service of this country.

FSA service

You can serve your country and your community in ways that do not require service in the military. The farmers and ranchers in every county are benefited by those few individuals who have taken the time to serve agriculture as a county committee member for their local FSA office.

Committee members play a vital role by helping local farmers manage tough financial times and natural disasters. They make decisions on applications for federal farm program and disaster eligibility and payments. Committee members serve a three-year term and represent the townships surrounding their homes. They are nominated and then voted on by active producers in those same townships.

As the FSA county committee supports all producers in their community, anyone, regardless of race, gender or age who is interested, is strongly encouraged to nominate themselves or another eligible candidate or contact their local FSA office for more information. The nomination period begins June 15 and runs until Aug. 1. Nomination forms for the 2015 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by close of business on Aug. 1, 2015.

Think twice before mowing

In the past, mowing of CRP grass cover was a widely accepted practice by many participants, if for no other purpose than aesthetics. Today, with more research and understanding, it has been shown that undisturbed grass cover will reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and is more beneficial to wildlife than annually mowed grass covers.

Undisturbed grass cover does not include noxious weeds such as thistle and teasel or woody species like trees and multiflora rose. These noxious weeds must be controlled by spot mowing affected areas or spot spraying of an approved herbicide.

Spot mowing is less expensive than mowing the whole practice. Aesthetic beauty should not replace good land stewardship and economics.

Unnecessary disturbance of CRP cover is considered a violation of the terms and conditions of the CRP contract and conservation plan. Violations could potentially result in hefty penalties including contract termination and refund of all contract related payments.

Please scout your CRP fields before weeds go to seed. Contact your local FSA office for permission to spot treat your CRP grass cover during Ohio’s primary nesting season (March 1 through July 15). Plan to have your CRP cover assessed for the need of mid-contract management activities that are designed to enhance your CRP cover for wildlife.

Report your crops

Please plan on reporting your 2015 spring planted crops by July 15 and remember to stop in your FSA office and complete an AD 1026 for wetland determinations before you break out new ground or improve existing drainage. Crop reporting deadlines are as follows:

  • May 31: Report nursery crop acreage.
  • July 15: Report all burley tobacco, cabbage (planted 3/19/15-5/31/15), corn, grain sorghum, hybrid corn seed, spring oats, popcorn, potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, tomatoes and all other crops.
  • Aug. 15: Report cabbage (planted 6/1/15-7/20/15).
  • Sept. 30: Report aquaculture.
  • Dec. 15: Fall barley, fall wheat, and all other fall-seeded small grains.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

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