In response to the continued drought conditions, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Maurer, announced the addition of 5 CRP practices that livestock producers and other participants in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will now be able to emergency hay and graze.
“Many of these additional acres have wetland-related characteristics and are likely to contain better quality hay and forage than on other CRP acres,” Maurer said.
The list of eligible practices has been expanded to include:
- CP8A (grass waterways) – haying and grazing available
- CP23 (wetland restoration) – haying and grazing available
- CP23A (wetland restoration, non-floodplain) – haying and grazing available
- CP25 (rare and declining habitat (oak savanna, wetland complexes, tall grass prairies)
- Oak Savannas – haying only
- Wetland Complexes – haying and grazing
- Tall Grass Prairies – haying and grazing
- CP27/CP28 (farmable wetlands pilot wetland and buffer) – haying and grazing available
Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization, and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Prior to implementation of emergency haying or grazing, a conservation plan must be developed that complies with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and all other applicable federal and state laws and regulations. This plan must be completed by NRCS. If potential negative impacts of haying and grazing on threatened or endangered species or critical habitat are identified, it is not likely the land would be approved for these activities.
Emergency haying is authorized through August 31, 2012. Emergency grazing is authorized through September 30, 2012. At least 50% of each field shall be left unhayed for wildlife. At least 25% of each field shall be left ungrazed for wildlife (or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate determined by NRCS).
CRP is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment.
Producers must file a request and receive approval from their local FSA office before starting emergency haying and grazing activity.