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How mid-contract CRP cover management effects you

• Aug 26, 2018 at 7:29 PM

The Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Pheasants Forever (PF) developed a State Mid-Contract Management (MCM) team.

The state MCM team completes site evaluations of CRP grass practices and determines the appropriate Mid-Contract Management activity options based on the existing cover.

So how will this MCM team evaluation have an effect on CRP participants? Well, all CRP participants with contracts effective beginning with sign-up 26 are required to perform management activities as part of their approved conservation plan. All CRP participants with contracts before sign-up 26 may perform management activities, voluntarily. If participants voluntarily request to revise the conservation plan, the management activities will be the same terms and conditions established for the required management activities.

MCM activities in Ohio are designed to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits, while ensuring protection of the soil and water resources. Management activities are designed to be site specific and used to enhance the wildlife benefits for the site. Cost-sharing up to 50 percent of a flat rate, is available for most management practices including light disking and interseeding. Management activities should not be performed during the primary nesting period or brood rearing season, which in Ohio is March 1 through July 15.

Failure to perform planned management activities can result in contract violation. Your county FSA office will be contacting you if your CRP contract is due for MCM this year. Practice cover evaluations of these practices by the MCM team will be conducted this summer. Contact the your county FSA office for details concerning your CRP mid-contract management activities.

In other news....

Breaking new ground: Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes as doing so without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy.

This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions. Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan.

Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria, such as clearing any trees to create new cropland. These areas may need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits. Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary.

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Resources available for new and beginning farmers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a website to connect farm entrepreneurs with programs, services and resources for anyone interested in getting started into farming at www.usda.gov/newfarmers.

The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner, starting or expanding an operation, developing new markets, supporting more effective farming and conservation practices, and having access to relevant training and education opportunities.

By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs. To learn more about this website, visit www.usda.gov/newfarmers.

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Dates to remember:

Sept. 3 — Labor Day holiday. FSA offices closed.

Sept. 7 — We are having our Erie County Conservation outreach meeting from 1 to 2 p.m. Sept. 7 at 2900 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, Room 118.

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