USDA Allows Harvesting and Grazing on CRP Acres Beginning Aug. 2

(MADISON, Wis.), July 24, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Sandy Chalmers reminds producers that Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants can use routine grazing and managed harvesting beginning August 2.
 
"Producers are expressing concern about having adequate forage this year, because of winter losses and wet conditions. Managed haying or routine grazing on CRP acres gives producers flexibility to use CRP acreage to supply forage.” said Chalmers.
 
Producers must request FSA county office approval before starting any haying and grazing activities. The request must include a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service with haying and grazing provisions.
 
USDA is providing flexibility to producers who are struggling through one of the most difficult planting seasons in years. Producers can now harvest or graze cover crops planted on prevented planting acres beginning September 1, and maintain their eligibility for a full 2019 prevented planting indemnity. The harvest date was moved to help producers who are facing a shortage of forage in the fall.
 
In Wisconsin, the State Committee has authorized CRP routine grazing one out of every three years. Managed harvesting for hay is also limited to no more than one in three years in Wisconsin.
 
CRP acres must be considered fully established before haying or grazing can be authorized. In addition, haying or grazing CRP acres is not authorized during the primary nesting season. For Wisconsin the primary nesting season is May 15 through August 1. Producers must be approved before haying or grazing the acreage.
 
For routine grazing, the authorization expires September 30 and all livestock must be removed by September 30, 2019. CRP participants must report the number of acres grazed to FSA by no later than October 10, 2019.
 
Before grazing eligible acreage, CRP participants must request approval and obtain a modified conservation plan to include routine grazing requirements. CRP participants are not permitted to graze acreage that has been hayed or grazed under managed or emergency provisions. 
 
If approved for managed harvesting, the authorization is for one cutting of hay.  The cutting and baling must be complete by September 15, 2019 and all hay bales must be completely removed from CRP contract acres by no later than September 30, 2019. CRP participants must report the number of acres hayed to FSA by no later than October 10, 2019.
 
Routine grazing and managed harvesting will result in an annual rental payment reduction of no less than 25 percent based on the number of acres actually grazed or harvested. All hayed and grazed acres are subject to FSA spot-check at any time during or after the authorization period.
 
Some counties in Wisconsin may be eligible to approve emergency haying and grazing provisions due to excessive moisture conditions. Each County Committee has the authority to review those provisions on a county-by-county basis.
 
It is important to contact your local FSA office prior to any haying or grazing activities on CRP acres to ensure your contract remains in compliance and determine the best option for your contract.  To find your local office visit www.farmers.gov/service-locator.

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