Schafer opens Iowa, other disaster counties to CRP haying
One day after Iowa's entire bipartisan congressional delegation sent him a letter asking for haying on conservation reserve program acres, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Wednesday said he's allowing it in counties previously declared disaster areas due to this summer's flooding. Because haying will be allowed in contiguous counties as well as those declared disaster areas by the President, nearly the entire state is affected.
Schafer had already opened up CRP land in disaster areas and adjoining counties on July 7 to grazing.
That helped some farmers but not enough, said the delegation, whose call for haying was led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Tom Harkin.
"The emergency release of CRP acres for grazing allowed many producers needed access to their CRP land, and helped reduce the demand for other sources of feed," wrote the lawmakers. "However, many producers in disaster areas cannot make use of the grazing authority. Their CRP land may not have fencing or watering facilities that would make grazing practical, and the time and cost involved in creating this infrastructure would be excessive. For these producers, access to hay harvest on CRP is the most practicable way for their livestock to benefit from hay on CRP acres, or for the hay to enhance supplies for feed."
Harkin commended Schafer for the decision, adding that he has spoken to the ag secretary several times over the past month about the need to allow haying.
Several restrictions apply to the emergency haying.
The haying will be limited to one cutting at a 25% payment reduction. Fifty percent of the field or contiguous fields must be left unhayed because of wildlife and haying must end by September 30, 2008. According to the USDA, to be approved, CRP participants must write their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, obtain a modified conservation plan and receive county office approval before beginning to hay.
According to USDA, haying will be allowed in the following counties: Adair, Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clay, Clarke, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Dallas, Davis, Decatur, Delaware, Des Monies, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Muscatine, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Scott, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth, Wright.
Other states with counties that will permit emergency haying include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.