U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Oklahoma Executive Director Scott Biggs announced on April 6 14 Oklahoma counties are now authorized for emergency haying and grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.
This request is based on the need for emergency haying or grazing and a county’s designation of at least a D2 (severe drought) level on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Emergency haying and grazing must occur outside the primary nesting season, which for Oklahoma is May 1 through July 1.
“Areas of Oklahoma are experiencing severe drought conditions with increased wildfire risk,” said Biggs. “In response, we are authorizing emergency haying and grazing on multiple CRP practices in approved counties.”
For Oklahoma, the counties approved for emergency haying and grazing of CRP lands at this time are: Beckham, Cotton, Custer, Ellis, Garfield, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Kingfisher, Roger Mills, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward. Should the drought worsen, more counties may become eligible.
Emergency haying and grazing is authorized through April 30, as the primary nesting season begins May 1, 2018.
CRP practices eligible for emergency haying and grazing in approved Oklahoma counties are:
CP1 – Introduced Grasses and Legume Establishment
CP2 – Native Grass, Forb and Legume Establishment
CP4B – Wildlife Habitat Corridors
CP4D – Permanent Wildlife Habitat
CP8A – Grass Waterway
CP10 – Previously Established Vegetative Cover
CP18B – Salinity Reducing Vegetation Establishment
CP18C – Salinity Tolerant Vegetation Establishment
CP23 – Wetland Restoration (Floodplain)
CP23A – non-Floodplain Wetland Restoration
CP27 – Farmable Wetland – Wetland
CP28 – Farmable Wetland – Buffer
Emergency haying and grazing is not approved for CHAT categories one and two lesser prairie chicken critical habitat areas.
“Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and grazing of CRP must request approval before haying and grazing eligible acreage and must obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that includes haying and grazing provisions,” said Biggs
Current provisions allow grazing on 75 percent of a CRP field or an entire field at no more than 75 percent of the stocking rate, except for land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body. Additionally, current provisions require 50 percent of a field or contiguous field to remain unhayed.
Only certain CRP practices are eligible for emergency haying and grazing.
To take advantage of the emergency grazing provisions, authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. The eligible CRP acreage is limited to acres located within the approved county.
There is no CRP annual rental payment reduction for acres approved for emergency haying and grazing.
In counties that are authorized for emergency haying and grazing, producers are reminded that 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 wildlife. In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.