Area counties OK'd for CRP haying, grazing
Six Tribland counties are among 54 across Nebraska where emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres have been authorized due to drought conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday.
Area counties approved include Clay, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Nuckolls and Webster. The period for both haying and grazing began Tuesday — the end of the primary nesting and brood rearing season in Nebraska.
Provisions of a CRP contract prohibit harvesting of the conservation cover for the life of the contract except in certain emergency situations as authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The emergency haying and grazing allowance is intended to help livestock producers who are suffering forage losses due to severe drought.
In 2012, USDA opened CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing, and Nebraska farmers and ranchers utilized more than 300,000 acres under the program to provide forage for livestock, said Dan Steinkruger, state director of USDA's Farm Service Agency.
Producers who are eligible and interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP acres must first request and receive apprval. They also must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, another USDA agency, outlining permitted practices.
For this year, those who take advantage of emergency haying and grazing will be subject to a 25-percent reduction in their rental payments from the government. Also, no haying or grazing will be allowed on practice CP25, which is related to Rare and Declining Habitat.
CRP participants are not allowed to sell the hay harvested from their acres, but may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock producer.