USDA okays moving up cover crop harvest

Government concerned about livestock feed supplies

Posted at 4:40 p.m. on June 20, 2019

The Brillion News

GREEN BAY – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decided on Thursday (June 20) to allow farmers to harvest cover crops early as they work to ensure adequate feed supplies for livestock.

The USDA said it will move the allowable harvest date for acres in its prevented planting program to Sept. 1, up from Nov. 1, due to the impact of this year’s unusually wet weather on 2019 crop planting.

The decision also says that cutting for silage, haylage and baleage will be treated the same as haying or grazing. This applies to this cropping year only.

The USDA’s decision won strong approval from Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country. It is based in Green Bay.

“The wet spring has made the risk of a shortage of livestock feed for the coming year very real for many of our dairy farmers throughout the Midwest who are struggling to get a crop in,” said Mitch Davis, treasurer of Edge and general manager of Davis Family Dairies in southern Minnesota. “This will give all livestock producers options to deal with the extraordinary conditions … The decision-makers at USDA and the many lawmakers who pressed this issue deserve much credit for listening to our farmers and recognizing the unique challenges they’re facing this growing season.”

After hearing its members’ concerns, Edge raised the issue with the USDA’s Risk Management Agency in a letter last month.

Edge thanked Reps. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and Angie Craig of Minnesota for their leadership on introducing the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act. The FEEDD Act was announced June 11 in the House of Representatives.

The cooperative also praised Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Dick Durbin of Illinois who led a Senate letter to USDA, and the Wisconsin congressional delegation for a letter to the agency which all helped to elevate this issue.

The decision provides an emergency waiver to allow for haying, grazing or chopping of a cover crop starting on Sept. 1 without producers taking a further discount on their prevented planting insurance claims.

This adjustment is only available for livestock producers’ own use or harvested crops that will be donated.

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