Lycoming County landowners have been allowed emergency haying and grazing on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, according to Michael Sherman, county executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
The authorization, which applies only to this year and is through the USDA, is due to drought conditions that have impacted hay production and grazing land in many states, Sherman said.
"Feedstuff across the United States is greatly diminished," Sherman said. "Some states have no hay at this point."
The CRP program is designed to enhance wildlife habitat and promote clean streams through planting and maintaining grasses, trees and shrubs, Sherman said.
Haying and grazing land enrolled in the program usually is prohibited, he said.
County landowners with land enrolled in the program must contact the local Farm Service Agency to get approval for emergency haying and grazing, Sherman said.
"CRP contract holders cannot participate without an approved revision of the conservation plan to ensure that water quality, soil conservation and wildlife habitat are protected," he said.
Emergency haying must be completed by Aug. 31, emergency grazing by Sept. 30, Sherman said.
"There are no restrictions on what you do with the hay," he said. "You can sell the hay."
Most of the land enrolled in Lycoming County is designated CP-1, which is cool season grass, and CP-2,which is warm season grass, Sherman said. Other categories eligible for emergency declaration is CP-4D, which is a mixture of cool and warm grass, shrubs and trees, and CP-10, which is an existing grass stand with no stipulation as to what grasses it contains.
For more information and to request approval for emergency haying and grazing, contact the county Farm Service Agency at 433-3902.