Thresholds must be met to trigger emergency CRP release
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) cannot release certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for emergency uses until thresholds are met.
Published: Jun 30, 2012
This includes early release of CRP acres for emergency grazing, said Don King, chief conservation program specialist with Illinois FSA, told FarmWeek.
Recently, the FSA national office released guidelines for the early release of CRP acres for emergency grazing only –- not for hay production, King said.
Higher thresholds are required for early emergency release during the primary wildlife nesting period compared to an emergency haying and grazing release that would occur after Aug. 1 in Illinois.
To be eligible for early release, a county FSA committee must first document a 40 percent or greater loss of normal hay and pasture production, and all members of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state technical committee must concur unanimously, King said.
Once concurrence is obtained, Illinois FSA can then forward a request to the national office for consideration.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson said, “We are aware of the deteriorating situation in Southern Illinois and have asked producers to contact their local FSA committees. We also are in contact with the state FSA office, the governor, and the Illinois director of agriculture.
“We are doing everything we can to address producers’ needs at this very difficult time,” Nelson said.
By mid-week, 11 Southern Illinois counties had submitted preliminary drought reports to the state FSA office, said Doug Bailey, FSA chief compliance program specialist. If a request is made, the county FSA offices will submit more in-depth reports.
The state FSA office is monitoring the situation, Bailey added.
FSA always has procedures that county (FSA) committees may use “to request emergency haying and grazing of certain CRP acreage in periods of extreme drought or flooding,” King said. The starting date for any haying and grazing emergency release is after the nesting period, which ends Aug. 1 in Illinois.
Producers are cautioned that FSA approval is needed before starting any type of emergency haying or grazing on CRP acres and they should contact their local FSA office for specific details.
“As soon as anything can be done on a county-by-county basis, the information will be posted online and also will be available in the county offices,” King said.
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