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FSA greenlights NE CRP grazing, haying
As of Friday, 61 Nebraska counties had been approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP land. The USDA FSA authorization provides emergency relief to livestock producers facing reduced pasture and grass resources due to drought.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director Dan Steinkruger said counties approved for emergency haying and grazing are Adams, Antelope, Arthur, Banner, Boone, Box Butte, Boyd, Buffalo, Cedar, Chase, Cheyenne, Clay, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dixon, Dundy, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Greeley, Harlan, Hall, Hayes, Hitchcock, Holt, Howard, Kearney, Keith, Kimball, Knox, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nance, Nuckolls, Perkins, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Red Willow, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Stanton, Thayer, Valley, Wayne, Webster, and Wheeler.
The authorization coincides with the end of the primary nesting and brood-rearing season in Nebraska.
Provisions of a CRP contract prohibit harvesting of the conservation cover for the life of the contract except in certain emergency situations when the Secretary of Agriculture authorizes emergency haying and grazing. Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres is intended to provide assistance to livestock producers who are suffering forage losses due to severe drought.
“Drought has been ongoing in Nebraska counties for more than a year, and forage losses have impacted livestock producers to the extent of drastic herd reductions,” said Steinkruger. “In 2012 USDA opened CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing, and Nebraska farmers and ranchers utilized over 300,000 acres under the program to provide forage to livestock,” he said.
“Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP must request approval before haying or grazing eligible acreage,” said Steinkruger. “Producers must also obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that outlines permitted practices,” he said.
Many of the limitations and requirements of CRP emergency haying and grazing were waived in 2012. For 2013, there will be a 25% reduction in the annual rental payments, and no haying or grazing will be allowed on practice CP25 (Rare and Declining Habitat). Along with other restrictions, CRP participants are not allowed to sell the hay; however, if the participant is not a livestock producer, he or she may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock producer.
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for more information on CRP emergency haying and grazing. Additional information is also available on the Web at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne.
Editor's note: This report is courtesy University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Crop Watch.