USDA relieves ranchers, farmers by adjusting grazing, haying date

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Relief is on the way to South Dakota for farmers and ranchers after the U.S. Department of Agriculture adjusted the date for grazing and haying of cover crops on land affected by this year’s extreme weather.

“You don’t have to talk to more than two produces in South Dakota to realize that waiting until November 1 to allow them to either graze or mechanically harvest cover crops without an indemnity reduction on their prevent plant acres is far too late, particularly with South Dakota’s uncertain fall and winter weather,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune.

The announcement to allow farmers and ranchers with prevented planting acreage to cut, graze, and hay land two months earlier than the usual Nov. 1, came Thursday morning. The decision, just two days after Congressman Dusty Johnson proposed legislation to make the change through the FEEDD Act, or Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act.

After blizzards struck South Dakota late in winter and unseasonably wet conditions swallowed fields into spring, many acres are unusable and put the state’s agriculture behind the rest of the industry.

“For example, by Nov. 1, cover crops could still be growing in places like Missouri, while parts of South Dakota will likely have already seen frost or snow,” said Thune.

“This is going to provide forage we need to get through the next months,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson.

The USDA’s change only applies to year 2019. FEEDD is not off the table, says Johnson, but the conversation is yet to be had.

“We still need to huddle,” said Johnson. “We have to have some conversations as a team but we haven’t come to any conclusive decision about what we’re going to do.”

Johnson says more will be known about the next step on Friday.

Governor Kristi Noem applauded the announcement and says she’s grateful the USDA is providing much-needed relief to South Dakota.

Producers will still maintain eligibility for the 2019 prevented planting indemnity.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

AlertMe