The USDA authorized the release of emergency haying and grazing for all Indiana counties for certain practices and acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) outside the primary nesting season for wildlife. This decision was based upon the U.S. Drought Monitor. “For Indiana, this means all 92 counties are released and just over 118,000 CRP acres on eligible practices,” stated Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Julia Wickard. “There are more than 281,000 acres enrolled in CRP in the state of Indiana. However, some practices such as tree plantings or wildlife habitat may not be released because of wildlife considerations," she said.
The CRP emergency authorization for 2012 is effective for eligible contracts as the primary nesting seasons expire for applicable CRP contracts. A contract that was approved for enrollment prior to February 8, 2007 has a primary nesting season of March 1 through July 15th. A contract that was approved for enrollment on or after February 8, 2007 has a primary nesting season of April 1 through August 1st.
Authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. Hay that is baled may be given away or sold. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county. Producers must also obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that outlines permitted haying or grazing practices. There will be a 10 percent annual payment reduction for CRP acres used for grazing under these emergency provisions. The selling of hay and the payment reduction is for 2012 only due to the drought conditions.
Also, NRCS State Conservationist for Indiana, Jane Hardisty, recently announced that all Indiana counties are eligible for drought haying or grazing on land enrolled in the WRP outside of the nesting dates. The nesting season will end on August 1, 2012 and program participants that receive prior approval may begin haying or grazing on August 2, 2012. This, coupled with the release of certain practices and acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency haying and grazing, provides additional forage opportunities for livestock.
Additional information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov.