COLUMBUS — The state executive director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency, John Stevenson, said Conservation Reserve Program participants may now request the voluntary modification to the program contract at their local Farm Service Agency office.
USDA has authorized certain acreage enrolled under the Conservation Reserve Program to be available for hay and forage after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds, which is after July 15. This is available for Conservation Reserve Program participants until Nov. 10.
This modification for critical feed use is only available in 2008.
Program participants with certain established vegetative cover may voluntarily have their contract modified by Commodity Credit Corporation to use certain land enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program for critical feed use, including haying or grazing.
Acreage eligible for critical feed use includes acreage that is fully established and devoted to the following Conservation Reserve Program practices in Ohio:
The most environmentally sensitive land enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program is ineligible for critical feed use. These lands include wetlands, buffers, filter strips and other practices not listed as eligible.
In addition, acreage ineligible for critical feed use includes acreage devoted to useful life easements, as determined by Commodity Credit Corporation, and land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body.
Haying is limited to 50 percent of each eligible field. If grazing, 25 percent of each field must remain ungrazed or all of the eligible Conservation Reserve Program acreage may be grazed at no more than 75 percent of the stocking rate.
Participants who request a voluntary modification to the Conservation Reserve Program contract to allow critical feed use must also obtain a modified conservation plan for haying and grazing management in accordance with Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide haying and grazing standards and elect to either hay or graze their contracted acreage.
No payment reduction will be assessed on contracts being used for this critical feed use. However, producers will be required to pay a fee of $75 for the modification of their Conservation Reserve Program contract before the County Office Committee approves the modified conservation plan.
For more information about this program, or to see if your acreage is eligible for this program, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.