USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Craig Schaunaman, ahas announced that USDA has authorized the release of additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres that are considered to be environmentally sensitive for emergency haying and grazing purposes.
“The inclusion of these acres under the CRP emergency haying and grazing provisions allows livestock producers access to forage on approximately 460,000 CRP acres in South Dakota that are devoted to wetland and farmable wetland practices,” said Schaunaman. “USDA, along with Federal, State, and local partners collaborated to support the release of these additional acres in response to livestock feed needs that are prevalent as a result of the wide spread drought conditions across the continental United States,” he said.
Emergency haying and grazing of CRP has been authorized for all South Dakota counties. Producers must file an application with their local FSA office prior to conducting any haying or grazing activity. Under CRP emergency haying and grazing provisions, haying and grazing may begin on August 2nd; however, haying may not exceed August 31, 2012, and grazing may not exceed September 30, 2012. Currently there are approximately one million acres of CRP available for emergency haying and grazing in South Dakota.
On July 11, 2012, Secretary Vilsack announced that the 25 percent CRP payment reduction will be reduced to 10 percent for all 2012 emergency haying and grazing authorizations in order to provide greater flexibility to farmers and ranchers in response to the drought conditions.
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.
In an effort to proactively serve South Dakota farmers and ranchers, the South Dakota Farm Service Agency and the South 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.