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FSA expands grazing provisions

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Julia A. Wickard recently announced emergency haying and grazing provisions have been expanded to include additional practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for all Indiana counties for 2012.

The additional practices (bolded below) are being released with the concurrence of Indiana wildlife partners in response to the critical need for livestock forage due to the ongoing drought.

"Secretary (Tom) Vilsack announced the availability of these practices Wednesday afternoon and conservation and agricultural organizations acted swiftly to enact the special provisions for our state," Wickard said.

The following is a list of emergency haying and grazing CRP Practices/Acres, including the practice, description of practice and approximate Indiana acreage (indicated in bold type):

* CP1 -- Permanent Introduced Grasses and Legumes: 30,261 acres,

* CP2 -- Permanent Native Grasses: 26,091 acres,

* CP4B -- Permanent Wildlife Habitat Corridors: 383 acres,

* CP4D -- Permanent Wildlife Habitat: 11,845 acres,

* CP8A -- Grass Waterways: 19,990 acres,

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

* CP18C -- Permanent Salt Tolerant Vegetative Cover: 0.5 acres,

* CP23 -- Floodplain Wetlands: 1,589 acres,

* CP23A -- Non-Floodplain Wetlands: 1,306 acres,

* CP25 -- Rare and Declining Habitat: 2,173 acres,

* CP27 -- Farmable Wetland Program -- Wetland: 356 acres,

* CP28 -- Farmable Wetland Program -- Buffer: 663 acres, and

* CP 38 -- SAFE CP25 Rare and Declining Habitat: 110.7 acres.

The total acreage in Indiana is 144,503.2.

"This was a decision that was not taken lightly. An extensive environmental assessment was conducted to determine the impact these haying or grazing practices would have on wildlife," Wickard said.

The complete Programmatic Environmental Assessment may be accessed online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=....

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.

Producers must also obtain a modified conservation plan and an environmental review for these expanded practices, which must be completed by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 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 only for 2012 due to the drought conditions.

"USDA is doing all we can to provide relief to Indiana producers during this historic drought," Wickard said. "The release of the additional 26,077 acres may ease some immediate forage need for livestock producers."

Wickard also issued a reminder to producers that 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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