Brad Pfaff, State Executive Director of the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that participants enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) may request to hay certain acreage enrolled in CRP. The earliest date that any CRP acreage can be hayed is August 2. Managed grazing of acreage is also allowed under certain rules.
"Many farmers have suffered losses of feed due to the weather," said Pfaff. "This is an opportunity for producers to harvest CRP acreage." The hay harvested from CRP may be used by the participant or sold or given to any other individual. In order for the acreage to be hayed, CRP participants must visit the FSA office to sign a request to hay the acreage and to amend their CRP conservation plans.
Not all CRP acreage is eligible to be hayed. Any acreage that has been seeded to a cover within the last 12 months, any acreage planted to trees or shrubs, any acreage within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, any acreage enrolled as a filter strip, or any other CRP practice prohibited by policy from being hayed is ineligible for haying. In addition, the haying of CRP acreage is only allowed once every three years; accordingly acreage that was hayed in 2011 or 2012 is not eligible for haying this year.
Producers who hay CRP acreage will receive a 25% reduction in their annual CRP payment on the actual acres that are hayed and must agree to revise the ending date of the nesting season to August 1st for all practices on their contract.
Under the managed haying provisions producers are allowed to take one cutting of hay from August 2 through September 15 and any bales that would be stored on the acreage must be removed by September 30.
CRP participants must first visit the FSA office to sign the haying request. "Haying cannot begin until the participant receives written approval in the form of a letter from our office", Pfaff added. "Producers who hay acreage without first obtaining approval from the FSA office will be subject to payment reductions and/or contract termination".
Interested parties should contact their local FSA offices with any questions.