News Release

Grazing and Haying of Wetland Easement Acres Begins Aug. 2

Iowa livestock producers may begin haying and grazingWetland Reserve Program (WRP), Emergency Wetland Reserve Program, and Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easement acres in drought-affected areas on Aug. 2, if they have completed a Compatible Use Authorization at a local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office, said Jon Hubbert, acting state conservationist for NRCS in Des Moines.

"The compatible use authorization process allows flexibility to address short-term resource conditions, like the drought, while promoting the health of the land and the viability of the overall farming operation," said Hubbert. "This opportunity will hopefully provide much-needed relief to Iowa livestock producers."

Grazed wetland easement acres must have an NRCS-approved grazing plan. The compatible use authorization includes additional restrictions to help protect wildlife benefits and wetland functions. Some of these restrictions include:

  • Grazing and haying is not allowed in areas where woody vegetation is maintained or being established.
  • Grazing and haying are not allowed on the same acres in the same year.
  • Haying is not allowed after Sept. 1.
  • Grazing is not allowed after Sept. 30.
  • Minimum stubble height is 8 inches.
  • Grazing is prohibited within 30 feet of water bodies and streams and on sites seeded less than three years ago.
  • Hay bales must be removed by Sept. 15.
  • Grazing and haying is prohibited in known habitats of certain threatened and endangered species.

A complete list of restrictions can be found in the compatible use authorization form. For more information contact your local NRCS office.

WRP is a voluntary conservation easement program that provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to restore and protect valuable wetland resources on their property. In Iowa, there are 80,000 acres enrolled in WRP through 700 easements.


Larry Beeler, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 515-284-4353