CREP Lands in 42 Counties Opened to Haying, Grazing
August 9, 2012
MADISON – New federal guidelines for using conservation acreage during the drought mean that farmers in 42 Wisconsin counties may now hay or graze land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP.
Earlier, more stringent criteria meant that farmers in only four Wisconsin counties were likely able to hay or graze on their CREP lands. Now farmers in 38 more counties may be eligible. They must contact their local Farm Service Agency office and their county conservationist before haying or grazing on either CREP or CRP land. Landowners with CREP perpetual easements also need written authorization from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Haying can continue through Aug. 31, and grazing through Sept. 30. Landowners may keep hay for their own use and graze their own livestock, or they may sell, donate or barter hay and grazing rights.
Counties with newly open CREP acres are Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dodge, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green Lake, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pepin, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Walworth, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood. Eligible CREP land in Dane, Green, Iowa and Lafayette counties remains open for haying and grazing.
CREP is a subset of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CREP places land along lakes or streams into conservation cover, such as grasses or trees, to prevent runoff from adjacent crop lands. CRP is strictly a federal effort, but CREP combines the efforts of county land and water departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The USDA announced last month that CRP land in areas classified D-2 through D-4 – severe, extreme and exceptional drought – on the Drought Monitor could be hayed or grazed if it was planted in grasses and legumes. While CRP lands that met these criteria existed in other Wisconsin counties, CREP lands meeting the criteria were present in only four of the state's counties.
Today the USDA announced that CRP lands in areas that have been classified D-0 and D-1(abnormally dry and moderate drought) since July 19 are open for haying and grazing. The USDA has also expanded the type of CRP lands that can be hayed or grazed to include grassed waterways and wetland. Those expanded criteria open much more acreage, including CREP acreage, for haying and grazing.
The new criteria, along with the ability to sell or barter hay and grazing rights, will help move feed to livestock farmers in areas so dry that they cannot take advantage of the temporary opening of their own CRP or CREP lands.
More information about haying and grazing on CRP land is available on the FSA-Wisconsin website. For more drought resources, visit the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's drought information site at http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Drought_2012.