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Haying and Grazing
Under certain circumstances (such as drought), the U.S. Department of Agriculture will authorize landowners with CRP to harvest forage from enrolled lands by either haying or livestock grazing. If landowners take advantage of this opportunity receive payment, the annual CRP payment is reduced to ensure that the grass is not harvested for profit.
Drought situations may lead some Nebraska landowners to harvest or graze CRP land in Nebraska, including some enrolled in CRP-MAP. When this happens, these areas will still appear on the atlas, will still be posted, and will still be open to hunting. They will, however, be inspected by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff, which will amend contracts to ensure that program funds are only expended for suitable habitat.
Hayed and grazed lands provide a unique oppurtunity for future wildlife habitat improvement. When cover is reduced, it is much easier to perform management activities such as light disking and/or legume interseeding. Light disking promotes early successional species such as annual weeds that supply both food and cover during the critical brood-rearing stage. The legume interseedings also provide food and cover while replacing nitrogen in the soil.
Haying large amounts of CRP is certainly not the best situation for wildlife. However, NGPC staff are working to make the most of the situation and use it to improve the habitat for future use. For further questions, please call your local office.