The Stutsman County Farm Service Agency staff is having a difficult time matching farmers with Conservation Reserve Program land eligible for emergency haying with farmers and ranchers in need of hay, according to Andy Zink, executive director of...
The Stutsman County Farm Service Agency staff is having a difficult time matching farmers with Conservation Reserve Program land eligible for emergency haying with farmers and ranchers in need of hay, according to Andy Zink, executive director of Stutsman County FSA.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue authorized emergency haying of CRP land effective Sunday for all of North Dakota and South Dakota and parts of Minnesota and Montana due to drought conditions.
"The problem is getting people matched up," Zink said, citing privacy restrictions. "We have a list of people looking for hay, but we can't give out names of the people with CRP." Zink said farmers with CRP land are urged to contact the FSA office to determine if their land is eligible for the emergency haying program or managed haying.
If someone with eligible CRP land is looking for a farmer to hay the land, he or she can make that known to FSA staff who can put farmers and ranchers looking for hay in contact with them.
FSA staff would look at the programs where the CRP land is enrolled. Some conservation programs, including duck nesting habitat and wetland restoration, are not currently eligible for the emergency haying provisions. CRP land that is part of a managed haying program can be baled up to once every three years and may not be eligible for baling if it has been hayed in the last three years.
"People wanting to hay (their CRP land) should contact us," Zink said. "We can look at the haying frequency and practices to see what is eligible."
If the land is eligible, a modification would be made to the CRP contract that the farmer would be required to sign. The farmer can then harvest the hay or make it available to a livestock farmer in a drought area.
Zink said about 22,000 acres of the 54,000 acres of CRP land in Stutsman County are eligible for the emergency haying provision.
"Under the emergency provision, there is no reduction in the CRP payment," Zink said. "But the hay must go to an eligible producer."
Under the provisions of managed haying of CRP land, the CRP payment is reduced by 25 percent, Zink said.
Under the current provisions, once approved for emergency haying, up to 50 percent of the CRP field can be baled for hay.
Zink said the FSA office was seeing a lot of activity Monday from farmers exploring the program.
"Everybody wants to get out and hay while it has some quality," he said.