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Limited haying of CRP acres is allowed after Aug. 1

By Wes Nelson

Farm Service Agency

WILLMAR — Livestock producers seeking additional supplies of hay should note that local Farm Service Agency offices are now accepting requests to allow limited haying of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program after Aug. 1.

In accordance with those provisions, the use of program acres for haying is limited to specific conservation practices.

For example, haying is prohibited on acres devoted to filter strips, tree plantings and wetland restorations. In addition, haying is permitted only once every three years on the same acres.

Haying is also prohibited on land located within 120 feet of streams or other permanent bodies of water. Haying is only allowed on acres where the cover crop has been fully established for at least one year.

No haying activity, including the cutting of the cover crop, can occur during the primary nesting or brood rearing season, which ends locally on Aug. 1.

A payment reduction equal to 25 percent of the contract’s annual rental rate will be assessed on the number of acres hayed.

Program participants who do not own livestock may rent or lease the privilege to hay or graze their Conservation Reserve Program acres to a livestock producer. However, any livestock producers that rent or lease the haying or grazing privileges must sign a statement agreeing that they will not sublease those privileges.

Hay harvested under these provisions may be sold to anyone at any price.

Before any haying activity can begin, program participants will need to visit their USDA Service Center and indicate on aerial maps which acres they wish to hay or graze, and then sign all required documents.

USDA implementing measures to reduce cost for forfeitures

of sugar loans

In the interest of reducing the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s sugar loan program, while also helping to reduce an oversupply of domestic sugar, officials from the Commodity Credit Corporation recently outlined measures it had taken to reduce the likelihood of sugar loan forfeitures of nearly 300,000 metric tons. This was accomplished by retiring credits from the Refined Sugar Re-export Program and redeeming Certificates of Quota Eligibility under the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

While such measures did cost $43.8 million, they should avert an expected $110.7 million in loan forfeiture costs, resulting in an estimated savings of $66.9 million.

The 1985 farm bill authorizes USDA to purchase surplus commodities if the purchase results in expected program savings. Therefore, USDA used $43.8 million of Commodity Credit Corporation funds to purchase 91,238 metric tons of sugar.

The purchased sugar was then exchanged for sugar import credits under the Refined Sugar Re-export Program at an average ratio of 3.3 tons of import access per ton of Commodity Credit Corporation sugar. Therefore, the exchanging of purchased sugar for import credits will reduce the amount of sugar imported into the United States, thereby helping to alleviate the domestic surplus.

USDA will continue to monitor the sugar market on an ongoing basis and will take additional action, if necessary, to reduce the cost of the sugar loan program.

Sugar program costs are expected to increase in 2013 due to record crops in North America and world prices that no longer support U.S. prices at the sugar program’s support level.

USDA releases pesticide use data

from soybean producers

During the fall of 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture collected data from soybean producers regarding their use of pesticides.

The survey data consisted of 2,491 individual responses from producers in 19 states, including Minnesota, which together accounted for 96 percent of the soybean acres planted in the United States during the 2012 crop year.

The survey found that 98 percent of the soybeans in the surveyed states were treated with herbicide active ingredients. In Minnesota, approximately 100 percent of the acres had herbicides applied.

Glyphosate potassium salt was the most widely applied herbicide in Minnesota, with 63 percent of the planted acres treated at an average rate of 0.924 pounds per acre per application. The herbicide glyphosate isopropylamine salt was a distant second with 29 percent of the acres receiving an application with an average rate of 0.785 pounds per acre per application.

In terms of insecticide use, 18 percent of the soybeans in the 19 surveyed states were treated. In Minnesota, 26 percent of the soybeans were treated.

The three most common insecticides, Chlorpyrifos, Lambda-cyhalothrin and Gamma-cyhalothrin, were applied to 16, 8 and 5 percent of the planted acres, respectively.

Survey results from the 19 states indicated that 11 percent of the soybeans had fungicides applied. In Minnesota, the percentage was slightly less at 8 percent.

For more information on agricultural chemical use, visit USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service website at

Local USDA

Service Centers conducting food drives

Employees of local USDA Service Centers are partnering with all federal agencies to participate in the fifth annual “Feds Feed Families Food Drive” that continues through Aug. 31.

This is a national effort that was started in 2009 to help local food banks and pantries stay stocked during the summer months — a time when donation levels tend to decline while demand for assistance increases.

Last year, USDA employees nationwide donated 2.8 million pounds of food. This year, USDA is hoping to donate more than 4.4 million pounds.

Anyone who would like to assist local USDA employees in their national effort to fight hunger can do so by dropping off food items at their local USDA Service Center.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.