FAQ: I want to mow my CRP acres to control weeds. My neighbor says USDA won't allow it because of pheasant and other birds nesting this time of year. What are the rules? Can I get special permission to mow or to spray for weeds?
Answer: Yes, there are certain rules you must follow, says Beth Grabau, information and outreach specialist for the state office of USDA's Farm Service Agency, located in Des Moines. And yes, it may be possible for you to get a variance. You have to check with your county FSA office.
The Iowa FSA office sent out a reminder recently to landowners and farmers participating in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program, reminding them that maintenance and management activities on CRP acres must be completed outside of the primary nesting season. This includes spraying or mowing CRP land.
John Whitaker, state executive director for FSA in Iowa, says Iowa's primary nesting season began on May 15 and continues through August 1, 2012. CRP participants should refer to their current conservation plans for the maintenance or management practices that are to be completed for 2012.
As of May 15 you must get FSA permission to spot spray or mow CRP acres
Participants with maintenance issues that require attention prior to the end of the nesting season must contact their local FSA office for permission prior to performing any spot spraying or spot mowing on CRP acreage. Whitaker also makes the following points concerning CRP program rules.
Failure to contact the county FSA office prior to any maintenance during the primary nesting season may result in payment reductions or possible contact termination. For questions or more information on maintenance or management activities on CRP acres, please visit your local FSA county office or go on-line to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Did you get all the required signatures for DCP/ACRE enrollment?
The Iowa office of USDA's Farm Service Agency notes that June 1, 2012 was the deadline for enrolling in the 2012 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program or DCP, the Average Crop Revenue Election program or ACRE and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program or SURE. This was the deadline for all participants in these programs.
All signatures of producers receiving a share in DCP/ACRE payments were required by the June 1, 2012 deadline. The election for ACRE for 2012 could have been made any time before June 1. If a farm has an ACRE election from a prior year, the farm remains in the ACRE program, however, producers must still complete the annual enrollment process by the June 1 deadline. If you didn't get all the required signatures on the paperwork by June 1, contact your local FSA office now and see what options you have.
For more information about DCP/ACRE programs, or maintenance requirements and rules for taking care of CRP land, visit your local FSA county office or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.