Bob Forrest, St. Croix County Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that participants enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) may request to hay or graze certain acres enrolled in CRP under managed haying/grazing provisions. The earliest date that any CRP acreage can be hayed or grazed is August 2nd.
The hay harvested from CRP may be used by the participant, sold or given to another individual. In order for the acreage to be hayed, CRP participants must visit their local FSA office to sign a request to hay the acreage and amend their conservation plan prior to any acreage being hayed.
Not all CRP acreage is eligible for haying. Any acreage that has been seeded to a cover within the last 12 months or planted trees or shrubs, any acreage within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, any acreage enrolled as a filter strip, or any other CRP practice prohibited by policy from being hayed is ineligible for haying. In addition, the haying of CRP acreage is only allowed once every three years; acreage that was hayed in 2012 or 2013 is not eligible for haying this year.
Producers who hay CRP acreage will receive a 25 percent reduction in their annual CRP payment on the actual acres that are hayed and must agree to revise the ending date of the nesting season to August 1 for all practices on their contract.
Under the managed haying provisions producers are allowed to take one cutting of hay from August 2 through September 15 and any bales stored on the acreage must be removed by September 30.
Managed grazing of CRP acres is also available, but only on CRP contracts that were approved before July 28, 2010. CRP acreage that is a useful life easement, planted to trees or shrubs, within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, or any other CRP practice prohibited by policy from being grazed is ineligible for grazing.
As of February 7, 2014, beginning farmers conducting prescribed or routine grazing will not receive a reduction in their CRP annual rental payment.
CRP participants must first visit the St. Croix County FSA office in Baldwin to sign the haying or grazing request. Haying or grazing cannot begin until the participant receives written approval in the form of a letter from our office. Producers who hay or graze CRP acreage without first obtaining approval from FSA will be subject to payment reductions and/or contract termination.
Interested parties should contact the St. Croix County FSA office in Baldwin, 715-684-2874 x2 with any questions.