USDA’s Illinois office for the Farm Service Agency recently came to the aid of western Illinois farmers who face drowned and stunted pasture.
The agency announced emergency haying and grazing eligibility for Bureau, Fulton, Henry, Mercer, Morgan, Rock Island and Whiteside counties on eligible Conservation Reserve Program acres.
Emergency haying is permitted from Aug. 2-31. Emergency grazing is permitted Aug. 2 through Sept. 30. Bill Graff, state FSA executive director, says producers interested in haying or grazing CRP acreage must request approval from the county’s FSA office.
“The request must include a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service with haying and grazing provisions,” Graff says.
Haying is restricted to no more than 50% of the eligible CRP contract acreage. Grazing use must leave 25% of each field or contiguous fields ungrazed, or there’s an option to graze 100% of a field at no more than 75% of the stocking rate.
Producers can use CRP acreage under the emergency grazing provisions for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use. The 2019 annual CRP rental payment will remain unchanged. Under the emergency haying and grazing provisions, eligible CRP acreage cannot be hayed and grazed at the same time. For example, if half the field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining half cannot be grazed, but must remain unhayed and ungrazed for wildlife.
In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.
All hay bales must be removed by Aug. 31, and all livestock must be removed from the CRP acreage by Sept. 30. To discuss how to submit a request, contact the county FSA offices at the following phone numbers:
- Bureau County: 815-875-8732
- Fulton County: 309-547-2233
- Henry County: 309-937-3377
- Mercer County: 309-582-5153
- Morgan County: 217-243-1535
- Rock Island County: 309-764-1486
- Whiteside County: 815-772-2124