USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director (SED) Linda Hennen announced that in response to drought conditions, FSA has authorized emergency haying use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for 70 Minnesota counties. Based on a decision made by the Minnesota FSA State Committee, CRP emergency haying approval will only be available for those CRP lands that were not utilized for haying or grazing during the previous 12 months.
Seventy counties are approved for emergency CRP haying. The haying authorization became effective August 2, 2012, after the primary nesting season closes and ends August 31, 2012.
"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying of CRP must request approval before haying eligible acreage," said Hennen "It is also important for producers to obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes haying requirements," she said.
Upon approval of emergency haying, producers must leave at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous field unhayed for wildlife. For those counties that are eligible for emergency haying and grazing, the same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and/or grazed at the same time. For example, if 50 percent of a field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining unhayed 50 percent cannot be grazed; it must remain unhayed and ungrazed for wildlife.
New guidelines were recently announced for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. Annual rental payments for farmers enrolled in the CRP, who use those lands for emergency grazing and hay production, will be reduced by 10 percent instead of 25 percent. Also, because of the current severe drought, all counties with a drought level of D0 or higher, as measured by the US Drought Monitor, are approved for emergency haying and grazing outside of the primary nesting season (PNS).
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA's website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for additional information regarding CRP.