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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes | October 25, 2010

Kansas Technical Committee Minutes - October 2010

Kansas Technical Committee (KTC)
Monday, October 25, 2010
10:00 a.m - Noon
NRCS Conference Center
747 Duvall
Salina, Kansas

The Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) met October 25, 2010, to review and make recommendations for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) procedure requirements.

Rod Winkler, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Manhattan, Kansas, provided offer and accepted data from the general CRP Signup 39. The Conservation Plan of Operations (CPO) must be completed for approved CRP Signup 39 contracts by December 31, 2010.

He also announced the Kansas Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice has been approved and the announcement was made by the Secretary of Agriculture last week. A letter will be sent from the national office to Adrian Polansky, State Executive Director (SED), Manhattan, Kansas, giving him the discretion of when to implement the new practice.

The 2008 Farm Bill made certain changes to the CRP provisions. These changes were updated in the FSA Handbook 2-CRP, Revision 5, July 28, 2010, after completion of the required environmental assessment. These policy changes require review and recommendation by the KTC prior to determination by the Kansas FSA State Committee. The KTC CRP working group reviewed these policy changes on September 29, 2010, and made the following recommendations to the 2008 Farm Bill provisions for the CRP.

The KTC reviewed the KTC CRP working group policy changes, concurred with their determinations, and agreed to forward the recommendations to the Kansas FSA State Committee for their review and consideration.

The KTC agreed with the working group recommendation but would like the Kansas FSA State Committee to address their concerns with the required ending date of September 30 for managed and routine grazing. They feel grazing is one of the better management practices, and the grazing window is very important if we are really interested in improving the cover. They would like the Kansas FSA State Committee to make sure the national office is aware of their disagreement with the September 30 grazing deadline and would like to see a grazing period available for the CRP acreage established based upon the grazing season relative to the crop year and growing season, not a government fiscal year. They believe the grazing window should be expanded and only agreed to the September 30 deadline to follow the required handbook procedure. Ending grazing on September 30 because it is the end of the fiscal year does not make any sense with normal grazing periods in Kansas.

1. Managed Harvesting and Managed Harvesting for Biomass

Managed harvesting (2-CRP, Par. 664) replaces managed haying and requires the following review of parameters:

Item Reviewed Currently Recommendation
Primary nesting and brood rearing season (2-CRP, Par. 664) April 15 to July 15 Keep the primary nesting and brood rearing season set as April 15 to July 15. Any changes to this date would require an environmental assessment.
Frequency (2-CRP, Par. 664) One out of every three years Keep the frequency the same. Any changes would require an environmental assessment.
Time period–permitted up to 30 days following the primary nesting season July 16 to August 15 The group discussed a broadened time period for harvesting biomass, but chose not to make a decision pending a better assessment based on biomass needs and wildlife concerns. No extensions may be authorized.
Restrict managed harvesting to 50 percent of each field. (2- CRP, Par. 664) July 20, 2010 No changes were made to this item.
Kansas exemptions to 50 percent of each field limitation on managed harvesting None
  • fields 5.0 acres in size or smaller
  • center pivot corners–can hay 100 percent of a given corner as long as ½ of the center pivot corners under the contract remain un-hayed in a year
  • if fields are contiguous on the same contract, then 50 percent of the total acreage of the contiguous fields may be hayed
Removal of hay or biomass from CRP acreage Required within 30 days Require producers to remove hay or biomass from CRP acreage within 30 days. FSA County Committee (COC) may allow an additional 10 day extension.

2. Managed Grazing

Managed grazing only applies to CRP contracts approved prior to July 28, 2010. The CRP participants who want to switch from managed grazing to routine grazing must modify their existing CPO to permit routine grazing. Managed grazing is authorized for a single period up to 120 calendar days not to exceed September 30.

Item Reviewed Currently Recommendation
Primary nesting and brood rearing season (2-CRP, Par. 680) April 15 to July 15 No changes were made. Any changes to this date would require an environmental assessment. Primary nesting and brood rearing season will remain from April 15–July 15
Frequency (2-CRP, Par. 680) One out of three years No change. Any changes to this date would require an environmental assessment.
Time Period–authorized for a single period up to 120 days not to exceed September 30 and outside of the primary nesting season July 16 to November 13 (exceeds September 30 and outside National policy!) State policy changed to 77-days duration due to a national deadline of September 30. Managed grazing may occur up to 77 days after the end of the nesting season.

July 16 to September 30 (77 days)

Duration limits Not to exceed 120 days or as otherwise limited based upon forage conditions and stocking rates. All livestock must be removed when average forage height reaches five inches.

State policy changed to 77-days duration due to a national deadline of September 30.

July 16 to September 30 (77 days)

3. Routine Grazing (2-CRP, Par. 716)

Routine grazing replaces managed grazing for CRP contracts approved on or after July 28, 2010, and consists of the following:

Routine Grazing Replaces managed grazing and has potential to be broader if the state completes the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) process prior to implementing.

The group recommended to keep frequency as one out of three years, and duration from July 16 to September 30 (77 Days)

Routine Permissive Grazing Gleaning of crop residue for acreage in the first year of FSA CRP-1 contract when acreage was devoted to an ag commodity prior to enrollment.

Routine Grazing Frequency and Duration–Kansas FSA State Committee in consultation with KTC shall establish routine grazing frequency and duration after completing environmental assessment.

The Kansas FSA State Committee can implement routine grazing using the current frequency (one out of three years) and duration of 120 days following the nesting season (July 16 to November 13). Routine grazing has the potential to be utilized as frequently as every year and for the duration of anytime outside of the nesting period. However, in doing so the responsibility and cost to complete the NEPA review prior to implementation clearly lies with each state.

Routine Grazing Recommendation to KTC: Keep the frequency at one out of three years and change the duration from July 16 to September 30 (77 days).

4. Pollinator Habitat–Management Practices

The group recommended the following management practices be eligible for use on pollinator habitat:

  • Prescribed burning
  • Interseeding
  • Light disking
  • Routine grazing

Managed haying was removed as a management practice for pollinator habitat as three species of forbs must be in bloom at all times. Allowing managed haying would defeat the purpose of the pollinator habitat–to provide flowering during the different seasons of the year.

5. Kansas Prescribed Burning Window on CRP

Prior to KTC meetings, there has been discussion on the need to review the current burning windows on the CRP land and consider the possibility of expanding the window. The current policy (FSA 2-CRP, Kansas Exhibit 5) is as follows:

  • soils with “I” value of 86 or greater–April 1 to April 30
  • all other soils from Smith to Barber County and west thereof–February 1 to April 30
  • all other soils east of the line in previous bullet–February 1 to April 15

The group recommended no changes be made to the dates shown above. However, there was much discussion on the possibility of allowing burning anytime outside of the nesting season.

The recommendation is to allow an additional burning window statewide from July 16 to August 31 with the exception of soils with an “I” value of 86 or greater.

6. Kansas Management Practices

The following current mid-contract management practices are available in FSA 2-CRP, Kansas Exhibit 5:

  • Prescribed burning
  • Interseeding
  • Light disking
  • Managed haying
  • Managed grazing
  • Wind break shelterbelt management
  • Forest stand improvement

Recommendation: Interseeding includes a chemical application that can be used for cool season grass suppression under seedbed preparation, for example, to eliminate cool season grasses in a stand of native grass which are inhibiting the growth of forbs. Light disking will be allowed entirely on CP23A, CP23, and CP27.

Interseeding will be added to CP22 (buffer only), CP23, CP27 and CP33. Eliminate buffer only under practices CP23 and CP23A for light disking, to allow light disking for the full practice acreage.

Recommendation:

  1. Change managed haying to managed harvesting
  2. Add routine grazing
  3. Clarify interseeding

The meeting adjourned at noon.

Attendees:

  • Adrian J. Polansky, Farm Service Agency, (FSA)
  • Rod Winkler, FSA Carla Wikoff, FSA
  • Matt Smith, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
  • Thomas Wellington, Nicodemus Historical Society Kansas Black Farmers Association
  • Cal Adams, Smoky Hills Grazers
  • Doug Helmke, Kansas Rural Water Association
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Stephanie Manes, Ranchland Trust of Kansas
  • Mike Beam, Kansas Livestock Association
  • Barb Oltjen, State Association of Kansas Watersheds
  • Jeff Keating, Department of Army, Fort Riley
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy, Kansas
  • Barth Crouch, Playa Lakes Joint Venture
  • Harold Klaege, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams
  • Mike Disney, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Eric Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Gaye Benfer, NRCS
  • Jon Ungerer, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Joni Franklin, NRCS