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Forum staff reports, Published July 22 2013

Conservation Reserve Program acres to be opened for emergency haying, grazing in SE Minnesota

ST. PAUL – Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in 19 Minnesota counties have been authorized for emergency haying and grazing due to excessive precipitation that caused a severe shortage of forage, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.

Emergency grazing of CRP can begin immediately, while emergency haying of CRP can begin Aug. 2.

Counties approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP are: Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Le Sueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Scott, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona.

These counties experienced significantly higher precipitation from March through June 2013 and sustained a 40 percent or greater loss of available feed as a result of the precipitation.

Emergency haying and grazing of CRP may only be conducted on specific eligible conservation practices, and is limited to 50 percent of the field for haying or 75 percent of the field for grazing. To initiate emergency haying and grazing, producers must contact their local FSA office to apply before any haying or grazing begins.

Producers must sign a modified conservation plan to allow haying and grazing. Fields containing or near environmentally sensitive areas may have further restrictions placed on haying and grazing activities. Haying or grazing cannot occur within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, or on acres devoted to trees.

Emergency haying must be completed by Aug. 31 and the bales removed from CRP by Sept. 15. Grazing must end by Sept. 30, 2013.