Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced additional drought relief for Ohio’s livestock producers today. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack authorized the release of emergency haying and grazing lands for all Ohio counties for certain practices and acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
USDA will allow acres under CRP to be used for haying or grazing under emergency conditions, for the following approve practices: Permanent Grasses and Native Grasses, Permanent Wildlife Habitat Noneasement, and Vegetative Cover (Grass) already established, the following practices are not eligible for haying and grazing Water Ways and acreage under the SAFE program. This will allow lands that are not yet classified as “under severe drought” but that are “abnormally dry” to be used for haying and grazing. This will increase available forage for livestock.
Under emergency haying at least 50% of each field or contiguous fields must be left unharvested for wildlife. Under emergency grazing at least 25% of each field or contiguous CRP fields must be left ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than seventy-five percent of the stocking rates as determined by NRCS. The same acres cannot be hayed and grazed, haying is limited to one cutting and shall be completed and hay removed by August 31, 2012. Grazing shall be completed and livestock removed from the acreage by September 30, 2012. Producers must call the Ashland FSA office for an appointment to file a request. Each applicant will be notified in writing from COC of approve or denial for emergency haying and grazing. Applicant cannot start emergency haying and grazing activity until notification has been received.
Under emergency haying and grazing CRP participants will be assessed a 10% payment reduction based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed times the CRP annual rental payment. Participants may sell hay harvested under emergency provisions. CRP participants who do not own or lease livestock may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock producer. Producers must report Actual acres hayed and grazed to the Ashland FSA and re-establish at own expense any cover damaged as a result of the emergency haying or grazing. CRP is a voluntary program that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment