Definitions and Guidance - Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
Applications and Contracts
Applications will be taken using the form AD-1153. They may be taken in the FSA or NRCS office. The AD-920 will be completed and signed by FSA for contracts. Contracts will be developed using the NRCS-CPA-1155, Schedule of Operations. Conservation plans will be developed using Toolkit.
Predominance for soils consideration means the soil that has the greatest acreage within the offered grassland.
The offered grassland should be adjoining or touching without significant separation (woodlands between fields are greater than 200 feet in width at the narrowest point). Fields are considered contiguous if; they are separated only by a fence, small or large dirt road, two-lane state and federal highways as long as the width of the rights-of-way do not exceed 200 feet. Fields are not contiguous if separated by larger two-lane roads with rights-of-way greater than 200 feet or separated by 4-lane roads or interstate. If needed the applicant may exclude the noncontiguous acreage. There is still a requirement of at least 20 contiguous acres.
Prescribed grazing plans will be developed using C-Graz. Periods of grazing and rest for pastures, stocking rates and supplemental hay needs will be identified in the management plan.
Use a straight line method measuring the closest distance between points.
For purposes of GRP in Alabama native grasses will include eastern gamagrass, little bluestem, big bluestem, Indiangrass and switchgrass. The native grass stand requirement will include existing stands of the above or agreements to restore one or more of the above native grasses. A stand will have at least 80% coverage of one or more of the native grasses. Native grass establishment may cost as much as $200/ac. Significant efforts may be required to prepare the site for planting. It may take 2 to 3 years before the stand of grasses could be used in a grazing system. Cost-share is set at 50% AC and will be only allowed for those desiring to restore native grasses to meet GRP requirements. The planting process of the grasses will begin during the first year of the contract. A pool of $30,000 has been designated for cost-share. If this money is not fully obligated, then the remaining funds will be used to fund other GRP agreements in FY 2009. The current USDA cost-list will be used.
Introduced Perennial Grasses and Legumes
The common forage grasses in Alabama include all bermudagrasses, bahiagrass, Dallisgrass, Johnsongrass, orchard grass and fescue. The most common perennial legume is white clover.
Grassland means land on which the vegetation is dominated by grasses, grass-like plants, shrubs and forbs. The definition of grassland as used in the context of GRP includes shrubland, land that contains forbs, pastureland and rangeland. In Alabama most eligible grasslands will have viable stands of introduced perennial grasses or native warm season grasses.
Improved pasture means grazing land permanently producing natural forage species that receives varying degrees of periodic cultural treatment to enhance forage quality and yields and is primarily harvested by grazing animals.
Native means a species that is a part of the original fauna or flora of the area.
Natural means a native or an introduced species that is adapted to the ecological site and can perpetuate itself in the community without cultural treatment. For the purposes of GRP natural does not include noxious weeds.
Pastureland means a land cover or use category of land managed primarily for the production of introduced forage plants for grazing animals. It may consist of a single forage species in a pure stand or a grass mixture or grass-legume mixture. Management usually consists of cultural treatments: fertilization, weed control, reseeding or renovation, and control of grazing.
Eligible applications will remain on file until funding becomes available or applicant chooses to be removed from consideration for this special sign-up.
Mowing, haying, spraying, or harvesting seed should not be done on 25 % of a field between April 1 and July 15. The protected areas should be at least 30-feet wide, preferably wider. They will provide nesting habitat for declining species such as bobwhite quail. They should be located adjacent to field borders, fences, riparian areas, or other protected areas. They should not be located near public roads or built-up areas.