Farmers see some relief from USDA

Local News

LAKE COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Mother Nature has been dealing a tough hand to farmers this year.   But after a harsh winter and wet spring, farmers will be getting some aid to help relieve some stress. 

Representative Dusty Johnson has introduced the FEEDD Act. It would create an emergency waiver for the USDA to allow farmers and ranchers to graze or harvest a cover crop before November 1. Thursday, the USDA is moving that date up.

Thursday the USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the haying and grazing date on prevent plant acres to September 1. This will help farmers and ranchers who were unable to plant because of flooding and excess rain this spring. 

The sun is starting to peak out of the clouds after a rainy morning in Lake County. Justin Minnaert is spending some time checking cattle.

It’s been a tough year on farmers and ranchers.

“We got the nasty blizzard this April again and we were burning through more feed this year than we have in years past and everything’s basically depleted, and then we come into a tough wet spring, we didn’t start planting until basically June,” farms in Lake County, Justin Minnaert said.

With the USDA announcing that farmers will have earlier access to cover crops, Minnaert says this is good news.

“It’s a huge deal for us, mainly because originally the prevent plant, they had the November 1 date, because then they would value the crop as a zero nutritional value for when you harvest it for forage, but now that we back it up to September we’re going to actually be able to get nutritional value out of it and so it’s going to have a lot more meaning to our livestock and be a lot better feed source for them,”  Minnaert said.

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson is happy with the date change.

“This is an example of bipartisanship coming together to acknowledge a legitimate emergency in farming country and having USDA step up and work with Congress to get this done, this is good news for South Dakota,” U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson said.

This will help alleviate feed shortages.

“We desperately need to put food in the bellies of those five million South Dakota dairy and beef cattle, and that’s the kind of flexibility farmers are asking for, what we’ve been fighting for in Congress, that’s why it’s a big success to get that,” Johnson said.

Giving farmers some much needed relief.

“If you let it go to November 1, there’s not much in there, there’s filler but now we’re going to be able to get a lot more energy out of it which is going to be crucial,” Minneart said.

Cover crops cycle nutrients and help control wind and rain erosion.

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