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USDA authorizes CRP haying and grazing in 22 Iowa counties

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Amanda De Jong today announced that 22 Iowa Counties are authorized for emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for fiscal year 2018. FSA’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The counties approved for emergency haying and grazing include: Adams, Appanoose, Clarke, Clay, Davis, Decatur, Des Moines, Dickinson, Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Louisa, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, and Wayne.

Unlike previous years, counties are not automatically approved for CRP emergency grazing when they reach the D2 (severe drought) level on the U.S. Drought Monitor. If there is a need for emergency grazing, each local FSA office must request approval from the Iowa FSA state committee. The 90-day emergency grazing period for these counties will end Sept. 30, 2018. The emergency haying authorizations end 60 calendar days from the authorization date, not to exceed August 31, 2018.

“Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must request approval before haying and grazing eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes haying and grazing provisions,” said De Jong. “Current provisions allow grazing on 100 percent of a field, up to the 75 percent stocking rate,” she said.

There will be no CRP annual rental payment reduction for 2018 emergency haying and grazing authorizations.

To take advantage of the emergency grazing provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county.

In counties that are authorized for emergency haying and grazing, producers are reminded that 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. In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.