Coalition urges USDA to allow grazing, harvesting on prevented plant acres
Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Reps. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., on Friday led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to allow producers to graze or harvest cover crops on prevented plant acres before Nov. 1.
“While we do not expect nearly as many prevented plant acres as last year, we request that you again provide relief for producers by eliminating the penalties for grazing, haying, or chopping cover crops approved by USDA as long as the activities are outside of the primary nesting season,” the coalition wrote.
“This would help ensure that producers have adequate sources of feed for the backlog of livestock due to the meat processing capacity shortfalls because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also encourage the adoption of cover crops, which improve soil health, suppress weeds and reduce erosion.
“At a minimum, we encourage USDA to move up the date for grazing, haying, or chopping cover crops on these acres from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 due to unprecedented environmental and economic circumstances.”
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The Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency on Tuesday announced that changes to its Livestock Risk Protection insurance plan will take effect on Jan. 20 for crop year 2021 and succeeding crop years.