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USDA Releases Some Wisconsin CRP Land for Grazing
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/08/2008

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Monday that he is releasing Conservation Reserve Program acres for livestock grazing in counties recently designated as Presidential Disaster Areas because of flooding. Some of those acres include land in Wisconsin, which will allow grazing only in counties designated as primary and contiguous disaster areas and only because of flooding.

"We have a crisis situation in the Midwest and other parts of the country that calls for drastic action," said Schafer. "Major flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries came at one of the worst times for agriculture. Flood waters inundated thousands of acres that cannot be salvaged for production this growing season, and it happened at a time of record crop, food and fuel prices. Our CRP land is vital to the balance we promote at USDA between production and preservation. I commit this resource knowing that we must redouble our conservation effort at every future opportunity."

To be approved, CRP participants must write their county FSA office, obtain a modified conservation plan and receive county office approval before beginning to graze. Participants will experience a 25 percent reduction in their CRP rental payments.

Wisconsin counties allowed to graze CRP acres are Adams, Brown, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond Du Lac, Green, Green Lake, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood.

Under CRP, farmers and ranchers enroll eligible land in 10- to 15-year contracts with USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). FSA administers CRP on behalf of CCC. Participants plant appropriate cover such as grasses and trees in crop fields and along streams. These plantings help prevent soil and nutrients from running into regional waterways and affecting water quality. The long-term vegetative cover also improves wildlife habitat and soil quality.

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