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Haying and grazing OK on some Conservation Reserve land

Severe drought in the Dakotas and Montana has led federal officials to allow emergency hay cutting and grazing on some Conservation Reserve Program acres within 150 miles of the affected area, including land in Douglas County.

In response to the drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture first allowed haying and grazing on land enrolled in the following types of Conservation Reserve Programs: CP-1, CP-2, CP4D, CP-10, CP-18C and CP-38E. Late last week, the department also added additional haying and grazing in and around wetlands enrolled in the following programs: CP8A, CP23, CP23A, CP27, CP28, CP37 and CP41.

To cut or graze land in conservation reserve programs:

• Producers must request permission and obtain approval from our county committee before beginning haying/grazing.

• Participants may use the acreage or grant an eligible livestock producer permission to use the acreage.

• Hay may not be sold.

• There is no payment reduction in the annual rental payment.

Further questions can go to the Douglas County Farm Services Agency Office at 320-763-3191.

In other news, Conservation Reserve Program contract holders must remember to control noxious weeds on their contract acres. Spot spraying or mowing these affected areas may be necessary to comply with the program. Conservation Reserve Program contracts with mid- contract management requirements should complete these requirements prior to the Sept. 30 deadline. Please contact the office with questions or concerns.

Another deadline is quickly approaching: Farmers must enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage, or ARC/PLC, by August 1. This is a program that farmers enroll in every year. If you haven't enrolled, please stop in our office. Also, if you need to return a landowner's signature or cash lease document, now is the time! Producers enrolled in the agricultural risk or price loss programs must protect all cropland and non-cropland acres on the farm from wind and water erosion and noxious weeds. Producers with these contracts agree to control noxious weeds on the farm according to sound agricultural practices. If a producer fails to correct a maintenance problem on a farm enrolled in agricultural risk or price loss programs, the county committee may terminate the contract for the program year.

Dairy Producers will receive a postcard shortly from the national office about the Margin Protection Program enrollment start date of September 1.

Much needed recent rainfall in certain areas of the county was a very welcome sight. Recent storm activity was not so welcome for some producers who experienced wind and hail damage. Our hearts go out to those impacted.

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