Today with more research and understanding, it has been shown that properly managed grass cover will reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and is more beneficial to wildlife than annually mowed grass covers. Wildlife, especially grassland birds including pheasants and quail, and pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, view properly managed CRP cover as a source of food and habitat suitable to raise their young. Wildlife will not be attracted to CRP cover if plants are not allowed to mature. Game birds and bees are disappearing because of habitat loss.
Properly managed grass cover does not include noxious weeds such as thistle and teasel or woody species like trees and multiflora rose. These noxious weeds must be controlled. This can be done in several ways. Mowing of CRP cover, not to exceed 20 percent of the total CRP acres in a field, is permitted. This activity must be included in your conservation plan and be conducted outside of Ohio’s primary nesting season (March 1 through July 15). The location of this mowing shall be changed from year to year.
Another option to control noxious weeds is by spot mowing affected areas or spot spraying of an approved herbicide. These treatments will have a minimal effect on the CRP practice cover’s ability to meet the purposes of erosion control, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Unauthorized disturbance of CRP cover is considered a violation of the terms and conditions of the CRP contract and conservation plan.
Violations could potentially result in hefty penalties including contract termination and refund of all contract related payments. Properly maintained CRP cover can be very attractive if noxious weeds and invasive species are controlled and grasses and wildflowers are allowed to mature. Please scout your CRP fields before weeds go to seed. Contact your local FSA office for permission to spot treat your CRP grass cover during Ohio’s primary nesting season (March 1 through July 15). Plan to have your CRP cover assessed for the need of mid-contract management activities that are designed to enhance your CRP cover for wildlife. Mid-contract management is a contractual obligation that is outlined in your CRP-1 Appendix and conservation plan.
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2018 ARC/PLC enrollment period ends Aug. 1: Farmers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program can visit FSA county offices to sign contracts and enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period will end on Aug. 1. Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year. Please call to schedule your appointment.
In other news...
FSA and RMA to prevent fraud, waste and abuse: FSA supports the RMA in the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse of the Federal Crop Insurance Program. FSA has been, and will continue to, assist RMA and insurance providers by monitoring crop conditions throughout the growing season. FSA will continue to refer all suspected cases of fraud, waste and abuse directly to RMA. Producers can report suspected cases to the county office staff, the RMA office, or the Office of the Inspector General.
Dates to remember:
July 15 — Final certification date to report spring planting. Call the office for and appointment.
Aug. 1 — Last day to file County Committee Nomination forms.
Aug. 1 — Last day to enroll in ARC/PLC coverage for 2018.