Kansas CRP participants encouraged to postpone burns
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic currently impacting all states, including Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Agriculture strongly recommends all landowners and managers voluntarily reduce the number of acres they intend to burn this spring.
Not only can the smoke exacerbate existing respiratory illness such as COVID-19, but emergency response resources should be conserved to handle pandemic situations. Read KDA’s statement at https://agriculture.ks.gov/news-events/news-releases/2020/03/26/kdhe-and-kda-recommend-voluntary-reduction-in-burning.
To support this recommendation, Kansas Farm Service Agency and Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service have determined to encourage delay of any 2020 scheduled Conservation Reserve Program management prescribed burns. FSA and NRCS can assist landowners and operators in choosing an alternative type of CRP management practice for the current year through a revised Conservation Plan of Operations (CPO). Applicable CRP contract producers will need to contact their local service center to initiate the change request.
“Our county USDA service centers are still operational and able to work with producers who choose to alter their management practice,” said David Schemm, FSA state executive director. “We strongly encourage CRP participants to consider this option and call your local USDA service center to visit with FSA and NRCS employees about your options. Paperwork completion necessary to make the change can be done through email or mail.” Contact information for your local service center can be found at http://www.farmers.gov/connect.
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FSA and NRCS recognize the importance and need of prescribed burning in most plant communities in Kansas. However, identified objectives should only be pursued through the safe and responsible use of prescribed burning. It is critical that producers or land managers still considering spring burns first consult KDA’s Smoke Model available at http://www.ksfire.org/. The model indicates the level at which a burn would contribute to urban area air quality problems. ❖
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