Farm Service Agency authorizes emergency haying, grazing in Bowman, Slope Counties

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) North Dakota State Executive Director Aaron Krauter, last week announced that in response to drought conditions, FSA has authorized emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for the Counties of Bowman and Slope.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) North Dakota State Executive Director Aaron Krauter, last week announced that in response to drought conditions, FSA has authorized emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for the Counties of Bowman and Slope.

“Slope and Bowman County producers interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must contact their local FSA offices to obtain approval to hay or graze CRP,” said Krauter. Any approved emergency haying and grazing of CRP cannot begin until Aug. 4, which is after the end of the primary nesting and brood rearing season in North Dakota. “Producers will also need to obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes haying and grazing requirements,” he said.

Under CRP emergency haying and grazing provisions, haying activity may not occur after Aug. 31, and grazing activity may not occur after Sept. 30, 2016. The acreage eligible for emergency haying and grazing is limited to those conservation practices eligible under the emergency release of CRP for haying and grazing purposes. Wetland and farmable wetland conservation practices are considered to be environmentally sensitive; therefore, are not eligible for emergency haying and grazing.

The 2014 Farm Bill removed the payment reduction associated with emergency haying and grazing of CRP, therefore the annual CRP rental payment will not be affected for participants receiving approval to conduct this emergency activity.

Under emergency haying and grazing provisions, 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 habitat purposes.  Furthermore, eligible livestock producers shall not sell the hay harvested under this provision.

In an effort to proactively serve North Dakota farmers and ranchers, the North Dakota Farm Service Agency and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture are encouraging producers to utilize the on-line hay finder services available via www.hayexchange.com and www.haybarn.com.

For more information and to request approval for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres contact your local FSA office.

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