In response to drought conditions this summer the following news release was received from the Minnesota Farm Service Agency.
USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Linda Hennen announced today that additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres have been authorized for emergency haying and grazing in Minnesota due to prevailing drought conditions. The Minnesota FSA State Committee approved, after receiving concurrence today from the State Technical Committee, emergency haying and grazing of otherwise ineligible CRP conservation practices (CP). The expanded authorization includes the following practices:
CP8A, Grass Waterway—Noneasement
CP23 and CP23A, Wetland Restorations
CP25, Rare and Declining Habitat
CP27 and CP28, Farmable Wetlands Pilot (FWP) Wetland and Buffer
CP37, Duck Nesting Habitat
CP41, FWP Flooded Prairie Wetlands.
“Minnesota has over 500,000 additional acres of CRP that will now be available for haying and grazing to help livestock producers get through the severe drought conditions,” stated Hennen. “This temporary modification of long-standing policy is very good news for livestock producers nationwide, and comes at a very critical time. It adds to other Federal and State efforts to open conservation lands for grazing and haying to help relieve the devastation of the drought,” she said.
Emergency haying and grazing of CRP is now open in 71 of the 87 Minnesota counties where the severity of the drought has at least reached the “D0” level, Abnormally Dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor as of July 19, 2012, or later. To initiate emergency haying and grazing of CRP, producers must first contact their local FSA office to apply. Producers must sign a modified conservation plan to allow haying and grazing. No more than 50 percent of a CRP field may be hayed, and haying must be completed by August 31, 2012. No more than 75 percent of a field may be grazed, and the grazing must end by September 30, 2012. Haying or grazing cannot occur within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, or on acres devoted to trees.
More information on is available at your local county FSA Office.