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What you need to remember about conservation programs

By Diana Strouse • Jun 17, 2017 at 8:00 AM

There are lots of details to remember when you are participating in any of the Conservation Reserve programs.

Some of the program requirements are difficult to remember. The following are things CRP participants need to keep in mind:

• Noxious weeds must be controlled by the participant

• During the nesting season, March 1 st to July 15 th , participants can spot mow or spot spray only to control a weed infestation after receiving permission from the county committee to do so. 

Only 20 percent of your CRP area can be mowed outside of the nesting season. At no time should the entire area under contract be mowed. Mowing should be at 6 inches for cool season grasses and 8” for warm season grasses. Shorter than that is too short.

• Producers are responsible to complete their practices within the first 12 months of their contracts.

• If practices are not completed within the 12 month period the producer must request an extension from the COC to complete the work. The COC can issue an extension if extenuating circumstances exist.

• When practices are complete the producer must submit all bills for his project to FSA immediately.

• Once practices are complete the producer must maintain the practice area per the conservation plan. Widths of waterways and filter strips must be maintained. Encroachment is a violation of your contract.

• If you decide to use a different seeding mix than what is listed in your plan you must obtain approval from NRCS to do so.

• Nothing can be stored on the CRP area. It cannot be used to dump spoils from a ditch cleaning, park equipment, or store items.

• Participants MUST certify their CRP annually to be eligible to receive annual rental payments.

• CRP land cannot be planted to a crop. Unless special provisions are announced, CRP land cannot be hayed or grazed.

• CRP land cannot be used for any purpose other than what is stated in the plan. It cannot be used for parking or recreational activities.

• Woody vegetation cannot be allowed in grass seeding’s. It is the responsibility of the producer to remove trees and shrubs when they infest the practice area.

• If you plan to sell CRP land contact our office first. If your buy does not wish to succeed to your contract you may have to refund any and all payments you have received under your contract back to the date your contract began.

• CREP producers are reminded that you agreed to maintain your practice for 5 additional years with the State of Ohio in return for incentives you received when you enrolled in the program. Failure to do so would result in the need to refund those incentives to the State of Ohio.

The various programs available under the USDA Conservation Programs are an excellent way to improve areas on your farm that need conservation practices and at the same time improve the environment for everyone.

While there are rules to follow the program provides extra income to producers. Rental rates under some programs are now very competitive to cash rent rates. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is available and is one of our most lucrative programs. If you are interested in finding out more about this program contact us now!

Here are some agri-business notes from the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency:

Election petitions: Now is the time to nominate your candidate or yourself to serve on the Huron/Erie FSA County Committee.

While you have until Aug. 1 to submit your petition don’t let it get lost in the shuffle. Petitions are available at our office now.

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Time for certification: Certification is underway! Right now we can give you appointments at most anytime of the day. That will not be the case soon. Once you have completed your planting please give our office a call to make your appointment to certify your crops for 2017. The deadline is July 15. If you do not complete your certification by that deadline you will be charged for what you can do for free now! Give us a call today.

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ARC/PLC signup: Are your 2017 contracts in place? Now is a great time to stop by the office and get them enrolled.

Approximately 85 percent of the producers in Huron and Erie have already completed their sign up. Just call us for an appointment and we will add you to that list.

 

Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at 419-668-4113.

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