Wet weather threatens regional corn and soybean production and the state’s livestock producers are concerned about providing feed for their cattle.
South Dakota’s Congressional Representative Dusty Johnson has introduced the FEEDD Act, a bill allowing farmers to harvest cover crops, used to hold soil in place, earlier in the year.
Johnson says plant prevention insurance claims are made when farmers are prevented from planting crops and they are expected to plant a cover crop on the unutilized acres.
He says these crops have nutritional value for cattle and other livestock and could provide the necessary forage to help herds through the end of the season.
“Producers that I’m talking to, they don’t want another government program. They can’t feed their livestock dollar bills. So, what they want is just a little bit more flexibility to be able to be able to feed their livestock with products they already have on their own farm or ranch,” says Johnson.
Johnson says current rules prohibit producers from haying, grazing or chopping these cover crops until after November 1. He says this legislation would move that date forward to September 1.
He says the production of corn and soy has received a lot of attention in congress but the effect on livestock production has not.
“I’ve heard the word ‘soy beans’ probably a hundred times on the floor of the US House, between the China negotiations and the wet spring, but one word I have not heard a single time on the house floor is ‘forage,’” says Johnson.
Johnson says there is a possibility production in the corn belt could see a 25 percent reduction compared to last year.
He says this problem requires quick action and relying on an act of congress is not easy because it is a slow process, but national support has created momentum for congress to act on the legislation.
Johnson says this legislation has bi-partisan support and was cosponsored by Minnesota’s Democratic Representative and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson. He says agriculture issues allow for the creation of bipartisan coalitions.