Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson met with officials in USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack's office Tuesday to discuss potential options on how to help farmers weather this summer's drought.
Nelson outlined IFB's three-prong approach to helping farmers manage through this dry spell and high temperatures:
• Allow grazing or haying on CRP ground, now and not later.
• Keep farmers informed about what steps need to be taken if they abandon a crop.
• Have some of the state declared a disaster which allows farmers to apply for low-interest loans.
President Nelson spoke with RFD Radio's Al Jarand earlier today. Listen to his comments above.
USDA announces drought relief measures
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.
15 Illinois counties released for haying/grazing
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Scherrie Giamanco announced that in response to drought conditions, FSA has authorized emergency haying and/or grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for 15 counties.
The following counties are approved for emergency CRP haying and grazing: Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Williamson and White.
The haying authorization will become effective August 2, 2012
, which is after the wildlife nesting and brood rearing season in Illinois and shall not exceed August 31, 2012. The authorization to graze also will begin on August 2, 2012 not to exceed September 30, 2012
Wayne and Edwards counties have been approved for CRP grazing only. This too is authorized to begin on August 2, 2012
and not exceed September 30, 2012.
“Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and/or grazing of CRP must request approval at their County FSA office before haying and/or grazing eligible acreage,” said Giamanco. “It is also important for producers to obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes haying and/or grazing requirements,” she said.