It’s been hard to miss the plums of smoke that have dotted the landscape from controlled burns on CRP acres the past month or so. It’s also hard to not notice the places where those controlled burns misfired and became dangerous prairie fires.
Area farmers have just two days left to meet the burn requirement on their CRP acres. Jim Peroutek, Farm Services Agency Director for Jewell County, says it has been difficult for those farmers trying to get a contractually mandated burn in this year because of the prevalence of windy days this spring.
The dry and often windy conditions have prompted most of the area counties to restrict burning to some degree. In several counties temporary or complete burn bans were imposed. Two weeks ago the exhausted Fire Chiefs in Lincoln County got the County Commissioners in that county to put a burn ban into effect. The ban was lifted five days later following a rain that deposited an inch of rain in some parts of the county.
Farmers participating in CRP programs are required contractually to have two burns during the life of their 10 or 15-year contract with the Federal Government. Those same Federal rules require farmers to cease burning CRP ground when the nesting season starts. Locally that date is usually sometime in mid-April.