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Additional drought relief available

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard recently announced additional drought relief for Indiana's livestock producers.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack 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.

The decision was based on the United States Drought Monitor.

"For Indiana, this means all 92 counties are released and just more than 118,000 CRP acres on eligible practices," Wickard said. "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."

CRP practices eligible for Emergency Haying and Grazing include:

* CP1 -- Permanent Introduced Grasses and Legumes (approximately 30,261 acres),

* CP 2 -- Permanent Native Grasses (approximately 26,091 acres),

* CP4B -- Permanent Wildlife Habitat Corridors (approximately 383 acres),

* CP4D -- Permanent Wildlife Habitat (approximately 11,845 acres),

* CP10 -- Vegetative Cover: Grass Already Established (approximately 49,735 acres),

* CP18C -- Permanent Salt Tolerant Vegetative Cover (approximately 0.5 acres), and

* CP 38 -- SAFE CP25 Rare and Declining Habitat (approximately 110.7 acres).

The total acres available is 118,426.2.

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 Feb. 8, 2007, has a primary nesting season of March 1 through July 15.

A contract that was approved for enrollment on or after Feb. 8, 2007, has a primary nesting season of April 1 through Aug. 1.

All haying under emergency provisions must be completed by Aug. 31, while grazing must end Sept. 30.

Authorized producers may 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, which was reduced from 25 percent recently by Vilsack.

The selling of hay and the payment reduction is for 2012 only due to the drought conditions.

"Given the widespread nature of this drought in Indiana, forage for livestock is already substantially reduced," Wickard said. "These specific CRP acres will assist our Hoosier farmers who raise livestock."

Wickard also reminded producers they should check with their local FSA office for clear guidance on what CRP practices are eligible.

Additional information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov or by visiting the Indiana FSA Drought Page at www.fsa.usda.gov/in for more Indiana drought-related information.

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