Yes, you can get permission to hay or graze land you have under a conservation easement.
Jeffrey Zimprich, NRCS state conservation in South Dakota, says you may first get to get a Compatible Use Authorization.
"Upon the landowner's request, the local NRCS will evaluate the habitat conditions and establish the criteria of use, including timing, duration, and extent," Zimprich says.
The primary purpose of the easement of providing wildlife habitat will not be compromised.
"However, we recognize that many easements are in need of management and during this time of drought there are many producers that could utilize the hay or grazing forage resulting from the management," he says.
NRCS might even be able to cost-share perimeter fence construction in some situations.
Contact local NRCS Field Offices to discuss use of the easement area for haying or grazing, updating the easement management plan, or to discuss management options for the easement area. Or call the state program manager Sara Thompson, Huron, at (605) 352-1200.