Baldwin, Hoeven introduce emergency feed bill
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and ranking member John Hoeven, R-N.D., on Tuesday introduced the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters with Cover Crops (FEEDD) Act, bipartisan legislation to provide farmers and ranchers additional flexibility to alleviate feed shortages in years with widespread excessive moisture, flooding or drought.
Specifically, the bill would:
▪ Create an emergency waiver authority for the agriculture secretary to allow for haying, grazing or chopping of a cover crop on prevented plant acres before Nov. 1 in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood or drought.
▪ Under this waiver, producers would not see a reduction of their crop insurance indemnity.
▪ Direct the secretary to establish regional haying and grazing dates for each crop year. The current date, Nov. 1, is set on a nationwide basis and disadvantages producers in the upper Midwest. This would provide flexibility for the secretary to move up the haying and grazing date for states in the northern part of the country.
▪ Maintain crop insurance program integrity, having no impact on a producers’ Actual Production History.
“In Wisconsin, when farmers lose a crop to flooding, drought, or other extreme weather events, they are left with tough choices about how to make up for crop losses and protect their soil from erosion,” said Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation will give farmers more certainty about their feed options in disaster years. By reducing uncertainty for farmers, we’re working to ease one of the headaches they face when deciding about putting in cover crops, which will benefit soil health on the farm and water quality in our communities.”
“Cover crops are an important tool that enable farmers to better maintain their land and provide an important source of feed for livestock,” said Hoeven. “It makes sense to provide adequate flexibility in USDA’s rules for cover crops to address disasters, differences in regional climates and local feed shortages. That’s exactly what our bill will provide, while preserving crop insurance program integrity and preventing penalties for farmers.”
Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., are introducing companion legislation in the House.
A wide range of farm groups support the legislation.
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