Drought prompts state to authorize emergency haying and grazing on RIM lands

Farmers in 70 Minnesota drought-affected counties can apply for emergency haying and grazing on acres set aside in the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) program.

The state Board of Water and Soil Resources said today it will authorize the emergency use of the lands usually reserved for wildlife habitat.

BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke said in a statement:

“We want to be responsive to landowners’ needs in these extreme weather conditions. In order to address those short-term needs, we’ve developed a policy that will protect the public’s investment and preserve wildlife habitats on these lands.”

The policy for state RIM easements only:

  • Landowners who are interested in emergency haying and grazing must contact their local soil and water conservation district office (SWCD) to file a plan amendment before haying or gazing RIM acres.
  • At least 50 percent of each easement area will remain undisturbed for wildlife.
  • Tree plantings, food plots, water control structures, wetland basins and stream banks shall be excluded.
  • Where practical, mowing will begin in the center of the area to be harvested and commence inside out to allow wildlife escape routes.
  • Haying/grazing will be limited to Aug. 2 to Sept. 30 to protect ground nesting wildlife.
  • Haying/grazing grasses should be harvested no shorter than 6 inches in height to ensure regrowth.

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