FSA approves counties for emergency haying, grazing

Aug 9, 2013
by DTN

A total of 429 counties in nine U.S. states have been approved for emergency haying and/or grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, according to the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) website.

CRP is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land by establishing long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. The producers receive rental payments and cost-share assistance in return.

Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres can be authorized in areas affected by severe drought or natural disaster in order to provide relief to livestock producers. That emergency authorization can be provided by the national FSA office or by a state FSA committee using the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Authorization is made by county and is based on request by county FSA committees that have documented a 40 percent or greater loss in normal hay and pasture production. Counties can also qualify for receiving a $40 or greater loss in normal precipitation for four months before the date or request, or excessive moisture conditions during that same time period.

Emergency haying or grazing is limited to acres inside each eligible county and is only authorized for a specified time, which may end earlier if conditions improve.

Also, eligibility for managed or emergency haying and grazing includes acres devoted to certain practices. Acreage ineligible for emergency haying and grazing include those devoted to useful life easements, land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, or other practices.

Before land can be declared eligible for emergency haying or grazing, land owners must obtain a modified conservation plan developed by the Natural Resources conservation Service or a technical service provider. The plan must be site specific, include the authorized duration and reflect concerns for local wildlife, as the primary purpose of CRP acres is still to maintain vegetative cover, minimize soil erosion, and to protect the quality of water and wildlife habitat.

Participants must file a request with their county FSA office before activity begins. The practice will result in a general payment reduction of 25 percent.

Approved states/ counties

Emergency haying or grazing has been approved for 429 counties in nine U.S. states.

Emergency haying was limited to only five counties in Texas, while emergency grazing was authorized in 55 counties (Texas-34, Minnesota-20 and California-1).

Both haying and grazing were granted to 369 counties (Texas-197, Kansas-66, Ne braska-54, Colorado-25, Oklahoma-20, Wyoming-3 and Califonia-1).

Texas holds the highest percentage of acres approved, with 236 of its 254 counties approved for emergency haying or grazing.

States with the next highest amount of counties approved are Kansas with 66 of 105 counties approved, Nebraska with 54 of 93 counties and Colorado with 24 of 64 counties. Other states with fewer counties approved are Minnesota, Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming and California.

For a list or map of counties approved by state, click on either “MAP - Drought and Counties Approved for Emergency Haying and Grazing - 07/29/13” or “Table -- Drought and Counties Approved for Emergency Haying and Grazing -- 07/29/13” at the FSA Emergency Haying and Grazing site. — Cheryl Anderson, DTN