The drought has been no joke again this year. It seems that unless we have a flood, parts of Iowa are in desperate need of rain. Because of the length of time certain counties have spent in D2 drought, and the return of D3 drought in parts of the state, the United States Department of Agriculture has opened the opportunity of emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres in Buena Vista, Clay, Ida, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, and Sac. With six Iowa Counties restricted under Emergency Haying Criteria Based on LFP Triggers: Cherokee, Monona, O’Brien, Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury.
Curt Goettsch is Conservation Program Chief for the Iowa Farm Service Agency. He says the LFP restrictions are meant to protect the cover and the soil during severe drought. While there are options available to hay and graze these extremely stressed acres, producers will only be able to use 50% of the acreage at most. The idea is to protect the dry soil which could lose stability if too much grass is taken off of it.
Producers who have CRP acres that they intend to use during the emergency period, do not have to worry about losing their CRP payment. This is an emergency declaration for the feeding of livestock that depend on grass and forage as a food source. Normally, the USDA offers haying and foraging of CRP land for a 25% reduction in CRP payments. This will not apply in these areas during this time.
There is an application to fill out for this procedure. To find out what your best options are, Goettsch encourages farmers to meet with their local FSA offices and get the application process going.