Livestock producers and landowners in drought-stricken areas of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska will be able to tap Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for emergency haying and grazing on Sunday -- once they have filed a request their local Farm Service Agency offices.
USDA allows emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres under certain drought conditions or disaster declarations following the primary nesting season. For Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska -- three of the worst states for drought conditions -- the primary nesting season ends Saturday, July 15. This will allow landowners to hay or grazing the ground without any reduction in their CRP rental payment.
Producers located in a county designated under the U.S. Drought Monitor in severe drought (D2) or worse before or after the last day of the primary nesting season qualify for emergency haying and grazing on all eligible acres, USDA stated.
Under USDA rules, producers can cut hay or graze on the ground after the nesting season, but they must file a request with their county FSA office before the activity begins.
Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska are now the dominant areas of the country with larger swaths of land that fall into the U.S. Drought Monitor designations for D2 severe drought or worse. According to the latest Drought Monitor, at least 55% of Kansas is in D2 or worse conditions. In Missouri, more than 58% of the state falls into those conditions. For Nebraska, just under 48% of the state meets those conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on July 13.
If there is another natural disaster in which 40% of forage production is lost, that can also open up emergency haying and grazing. A group of counties in northwest Missouri, which falls below the D2 severe drought standard have filed a request with the state FSA office to allow for emergency haying and grazing in those counties as well, but that request has not yet been approved by the state FSA committee.
Other states with areas facing D2 or higher drought conditions such as Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin will see eligibility open up for emergency haying and grazing after August 1, when the primary nesting season ends in those states, according to USDA's nesting season map.
Under USDA rules, producers would have 60 days to complete one cutting of hay on CRP ground in emergency conditions. They would have up to 90 days of grazing on their ground.
CRP haying and grazing rules also change if a county is eligible for the Livestock Forage Program. The acreage is reduced and more restrictions are added on eligible practices.
More details on CRP haying and grazing rules https://www.fsa.usda.gov/…
USDA primary nesting season dates https://www.fsa.usda.gov/…
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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