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Serving: IL
cows grazing at sunset Holly Spangler
GRAZE: Producers can use CRP acreage under the emergency grazing provisions for their own livestock, or they may grant another livestock producer use.

Western Illinois farmers eligible to graze CRP

Farmers in seven counties can apply with FSA to graze Conservation Reserve Program land until Sept. 30.

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 grazing eligibility for Bureau, Fulton, Henry, Mercer, Morgan, Rock Island and Whiteside counties on eligible Conservation Reserve Program acres. Grazing is permitted Aug. 2 through Sept. 30, while haying is permitted until the end of August.

Bill Graff, state FSA executive director, says producers interested in putting CRP acreage to use must first request approval from the county’s FSA office.

“The request must include a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service,” Graff says, adding it needs haying or grazing provisions.

Grazing use has to 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 they may grant another livestock producer use. The 2019 annual CRP rental payment will remain unchanged.

Under the emergency 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 who hay are limited to one cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.

All livestock must be removed from the CRP acreage by Sept. 30. To discuss how to submit a request, contact the county FSA office.

  • 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
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