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CRP land can be used to make hay

Published 7:23am Thursday, July 26, 2012 Updated 12:26pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

Allowed to help alleviate shortage

The nationwide hay shortage has caused the U.S. secretary of agriculture to authorize emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in Otter Tail County.

First crop hay was OK, but second crop has been less than average because it has been so dry in the area, said a representative from the West Otter Tail County Farm Service Agency.

“The rain across the county might help, but it will take a while for stuff to grow back,” he said.

While growing conditions haven’t been good in Otter Tail County, they are much better than much of the U.S. The drought that has swept through the middle of the country has many states looking to Minnesota to feed their cattle. The added acreage for haying and grazing will help provide not only Minnesota, but the U.S. with more, much needed hay.

All CRP participants must request approval before haying or grazing is authorized. All CRP contracts need to obtain a modified conservation plan to include the haying or grazing requirements with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

CRP contract holders can take a payment reduction to produce and graze hay on part of their fields. No haying or grazing can take place until August 2, one day after the final day of nesting season.

Haying and grazing CRP land can be beneficial to farmers, but it comes with a downside. Hay grown in these areas doesn’t have as

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