Minnesota drought: Emergency haying on CRP land authorized

West Polk FSA office has more information for those needing it

Times Report

Haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres is authorized under certain conditions to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters. Drought conditions are tough for our livestock producers, but emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program acres can provide temporary relief to these producers.

Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres may be authorized within a county to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster. Emergency haying and grazing status is reviewed and authorized each Thursday using the U.S. Drought monitor. Counties are eligible for emergency haying and grazing due to drought conditions on a county by county basis, when a county is designated as level “D2 Drought - Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. CRP contract holders who would like to use this option must contact the County FSA office prior to conducting any haying or grazing activity and receive written approval.

To date, 61 counties in Minnesota have triggered eligibility for emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres. A list by state and map of eligible counties are updated weekly and available on FSA’s website.

Producers who don’t meet the drought monitor qualifications but have a 40% loss of forage production may also be eligible for emergency haying and grazing outside of the primary nesting season.

CRP participants requesting emergency or non-emergency haying and grazing must file a request with their county FSA office indicating the acres to be hayed or grazed before the activity begins. Emergency haying and grazing is authorized on all practices outside the primary nesting season. The primary nesting season in Minnesota goes through August 1.

Counties that trigger for Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments based on the U.S. Drought Monitor may hay only certain practices on less than 50% of eligible contract acres. Producers should contact their local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.

Before CRP acres are declared eligible for haying or grazing, a modified conservation plan developed by NRCS or a technical service provider must be obtained. The modified conservation plan must be site specific, include the authorized duration and reflect local wildlife needs and concerns. The primary purpose must be to maintain vegetative cover, minimize soil erosion and protect water quality and wildlife habitat quality. These plans must ensure no long-term damage to the conservation cover is caused.

Eligible practices for emergency haying ang grazing include those implemented under State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) such as CP38E SAFE-Grass when such activity is specifically outlined in the SAFE agreement. Contact your local office for State Specific restrictions related to SAFE.

Acres ineligible for both emergency and non-emergency haying and grazing include acres devoted to:

Useful life easements;

Land within 20 feet of a stream or other permanent water body; and

Any acres where haying and or grazing would cause long-term damage to the CRP cover.

For more information on CRP haying and grazing visit fsa.usda.gov/crp or contact your FSA county office. To locate your FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.