More flexibility offered for CRP emergency grazing and haying

Nolan County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Dennis Cumbie announced that 229 Texas counties, including Nolan County, are eligible for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) emergency haying and grazing because of the new provisions announced by Secretary Vilsack on July 23, 2012. "Previously, only lands classified as 'D2 - under severe drought' according to the U.S. Drought Monitor were eligible for CRP emergency haying and grazing," said Cumbie. "Now lands classified as 'D0 - abnormally dry' will be eligible for CRP emergency haying and grazing," he said. In addition to the 25 percent CRP payment reduction being reduced to 10 percent for all 2012 emergency haying and grazing authorizations, participants may now sell the harvested hay or lease grazing privileges for profit under the new emergency provisions. However, subleasing of the grazing privileges will not be permitted.Texas CRP participants who were previously approved for managed haying or grazing may elect to switch to emergency use by contacting the Nolan County FSA office to request approval. Based on a decision made by the Texas FSA State Committee, CRP emergency haying and grazing approval will only be available for those CRP lands that were not utilized for haying or grazing during the previous 12 months. Eligible CRP land can be used for emergency haying until Aug. 31, 2012, or emergency grazing until Sept. 30, 2012. "The added flexibility to CRP provides more relief to producers who are facing an on-going drought that makes providing forage for livestock even more difficult," said Cumbie. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to qualified acres located within the approved county. Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under this emergency authorization and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to include site specific haying or grazing requirements. In counties that are authorized for CRP emergency haying and grazing, producers are reminded that the same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and/or grazed at the same time. For example, if 50 percent of a field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining unhayed 50 percent cannot be grazed; it must remain unhayed and ungrazed for wildlife. In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting. For more information and to request approval for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres contact the Nolan County FSA office at 325-235-8693.