Southernmost counties eligible
Reprinted with permission from the July 16 edition of Farm Week
Thirty-seven counties, primarily in Southern Illinois (see map), were approved Friday for emergency use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to start Aug. 2, announced Scherrie Giamanco, Farm Service Agency (FSA) state executive director.
The list of counties approved for emergency hay harvest and grazing was expected to grow, according to FSA officials.
Giamanco stressed eligible farmers who are interested must request approval from their county FSA office before they hay or graze CRP acres. Farmers in approved counties were urged to contact their county FSA offices right away to get paperwork completed early.
Those farmers also need to obtain a modified conservation plan that includes haying and/or grazing requirements from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
If approved for emergency hay cutting, farmers must leave hay standing for wildlife in at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous field. Farmers may not both harvest hay and graze the same CRP acres.
They will be limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay. In addition, there will be a 10 percent CRP payment reduction based on the number of acres actually used for hay harvest or grazing.
Eligible farmers must not graze at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.
Farmers who don’t own or lease livestock may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock farmer.