AMARILLO -- Potter/Armstrong County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Adam Acker announced that 23 Counties are authorized for emergency haying use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for fiscal year (FY) 2014. FSA's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.
Unlike previous years, counties are not automatically approved for CRP emergency haying when they reach the D2 (severe drought) level on the U.S. Drought Monitor – www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu. If there is a need for emergency haying, each local FSA Office must request approval from the Texas FSA State Committee. Currently, 40 counties have received emergency haying approval. The 60-day emergency haying period for these counties will end August 31, 2014.
Based on a revised policy decision made by the Texas FSA State Committee, CRP acres hayed or grazed during fiscal year 2012 or 2013 will be considered eligible for emergency haying if the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) verifies, on a case-by-case basis, that the conservation cover will sustain haying.
"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying of CRP must request approval from FSA before haying eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the NRCS that includes haying requirements," said Acker.
Upon approval of emergency haying, producers must leave at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous field unhayed for wildlife. For those counties that are eligible for emergency haying and grazing, the same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and/or grazed at the same time. For example, if 50 percent of a field or contiguous field is hayed, the remaining unhayed 50 percent cannot be grazed; it must remain unhayed and ungrazed for the benefit of wildlife.
In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.
There will be no CRP annual rental payment reduction for 2014 emergency haying authorizations.
To take advantage of the emergency haying provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage for the purpose of haying.
Additionally, CRP land located within the Lesser Prairie Chicken Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) zones I, II and III will only be able to practice managed or routine grazing, managed harvesting, emergency haying or emergency grazing one out of every three years. This frequency regulation resets in 2014, meaning that any land hayed or grazed in prior years that meets the available forage requirement according to NRCS standards will be eligible for emergency use in 2014.
For more information and to request approval for emergency haying use of CRP acres contact the Potter/Armstrong County FSA office at (806) 468-8600 ext. 2.