Iowa livestock producers, who are approved for emergency grazing, may continue to graze on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres until October 20, 2006. Derryl McLaren, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Iowa says the extension was approved by the FSA State Committee with the support of the Natural Resources Conservation Service State Technical Committee.
USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns had announced that an extension would be allowed, with state approval, in 30 states that had been granted emergency livestock grazing on CRP. McLaren reminds producers this extension does not include emergency haying, which ended on September 30, 2006.
This emergency relief measure is good news for livestock producers, says McLaren. It will provide feed and forage to producers who have lost hay stocks and grazing lands because of drought. The extension will reduce some of the grazing pressure on pasture and provide an opportunity for recovery.
CRP payments only reduced 10%
CRP rental payments will be reduced by only 10% instead of the standard 25% on CRP lands that are grazed in 2006 under the emergency provisions. Farmers and ranchers can graze no more than 75% of the stocking rate or only graze 75% of a field or contiguous field for wildlife habitat. CRP participants must have or obtain a modified conservation plan approved by the FSA County Committee.
The 10% payment reduction will apply to producers who use emergency haying as well as any Iowa producers who applied for managed haying or grazing. This reduction in the cost of managed haying or grazing is made possible because all Iowa counties fall within the 150-mile "expanded area" for emergency haying or grazing. For more information about USDA disaster assistance, visit the FSA office at your local USDA Service Center or online http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
CRP adds initiative for duck habitat
In other CRP news, McClaren says duck nesting habitat improvement is the goal of a new CRP Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative. Farmers and landowners can enroll land into CRP under this initiative starting October 2, 2006.
Cropped wetlands capable of being restored and identified as having a potential duck nesting density of 25 breeding pairs or more per square mile is eligible for the initiative. Eligible acreage includes cropped wetlands and adjacent uplands. From 4 to 10 acres of upland may be enrolled for every acre of restored cropped wetland enrolled. This means for every one acre of restored cropped wetland, there must be a minimum of 4 acres of surrounding upland habitat, but may be up to 10 acres.
CRP contracts for acreage enrolled under the duck nesting habitat practice may be for a period of 10 to 15 years. The participant will restore cropped wetlands and establish suitable nesting cover. Participants will receive annual rent payments, cost share to establish the habitat and a 25% incentive payment to restore wetlands.
Enrollment limited to specific regions
McLaren adds, "Enrollment is limited to specifically identified lands in 14 counties located within the Prairie Pothole Region encompassing parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Acreage may be enrolled in CRP under this initiative on a continuous basis until the 100,000 acre national allocation is reached. Iowa has received a 4,000 acre allocation."
Restoring 100,000 acres of wetland ecosystems in the Prairie Pothole Region will provide nesting ducks with critical habitat, nesting cover, as well as security from predators and food. The initiative will also benefit other wildlife species, filter runoff, recharge groundwater supplies, protect drinking water and reduce downstream flooding.
Sign-up for the initiative began Oct. 1, 2006, at local FSA offices and will run on a continuous basis until enrollment goals are met, or Dec. 31, 2007, whichever comes first. Additional information and maps identifying the area determined eligible based on the potential duck nesting density may be obtained at the local USDA Farm Service Agency Office.