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7 Illinois counties eligible for CRP haying, grazing

Thanks to early rains and midsummer drought, FSA has opened up CRP acres for hay and grazing in seven western Illinois counties.

Austin Keating, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

August 6, 2019

2 Min Read
APPLY: Northwestern Illinois farmers can apply to hay and graze land set aside in conservation easements.

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

About the Author(s)

Austin Keating

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

Austin Keating is the newest addition to the Farm Progress editorial team working as an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine. Austin was born and raised in Mattoon and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism. Following graduation in 2016, he worked as a science writer and videographer for the university’s supercomputing center. In June 2018, Austin obtained a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he was the campus correspondent for Planet Forward and a Comer scholar.

Austin is passionate about distilling agricultural science as a service for readers and creating engaging content for viewers. During his time at UI, he won two best feature story awards from the student organization JAMS — Journalism Advertising and Media Students — as well as a best news story award.

Austin lives in Charleston. He can sometimes be found at his family’s restaurant the Alamo Steakhouse and Saloon in Mattoon, or on the Embarrass River kayaking. Austin is also a 3D printing and modeling hobbyist.

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