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FEEDD Garners Immediate Support from Local Ag Groups
Minnesota Ag Connection - 06/12/2019

Following U.S. Rep Angie Craig's introduction of the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters (FEEDD) Act with U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, several Minnesota agriculture stakeholders expressed their support for the bipartisan bill that would give farmers and ranchers additional emergency flexibility and help alleviate feed concerns. In the event of excessive moisture, flooding, and drought, the FEEDD Act would give the Secretary of Agriculture explicit authority to allow for early haying, grazing, and chopping of cover crops on prevent plant ground for personal use or donation.

Excessive moisture and flooding throughout the Midwest has caused a significant delay in the planting season, and has forced many farmers to claim prevent plant under their crop insurance policies. At the same time, these wet conditions put Minnesota farmers and ranchers at risk of losing access to affordable forage.

The FEEDD Act would create an emergency waiver authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to allow for haying, grazing or chopping of a cover crop before Nov. 1 in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood, or drought without producers taking a further discount on their crop insurance. Incentivizing the planting of cover crops protects the health and quality of farmers' soil and gives much needed relief to livestock producers seeking affordable forage.

This bill is currently supported by the Minnesota Farmer's Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Milk, Minnesota Cattlemen's Association, Land O' Lakes, Midwest Dairy Coalition, and CHS.

"In the midst of a delayed planting season, falling commodity prices, and limited market access, Congress has a responsibility to provide farmers and ranchers the flexibility they need to do their jobs successfully. This bill takes a critical step toward giving the Secretary explicit authority to waive the Nov. 1 harvest date for cover crops on prevent plant ground," said Craig. "While my colleagues and I will continue to work with the USDA to find Administrative ways to address this issue, Congress must take action on this long standing concern with a long-term solution and pursue all possible avenues for relief. Additionally, by incentivizing the planting of cover crops, we're building resiliency and feed stability for farmers throughout my district. I'm proud to lead this common-sense, broadly supported, and bipartisan effort."

"This spring, we've seen extreme weather events devastate many family farmers. Allowing livestock producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops for animal feed before Nov. 1 will provide a source of relief during feed shortages so they have a chance to make it through these tough times," said Gary Wertish, president of Minnesota Farmers Union.

"This is one of the most challenging springs in my farming career, many farmers are making progress, but there will be continued challenges throughout the year. This bill will allow needed flexibility to help address the forage shortages here in Minnesota," said Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap. "Farm Bureau thanks Representative Craig for her leadership in finding solutions for this challenge."

"Rarely is there an opportunity to do something that is both this environmentally friendly and financially beneficial to struggling farmers with no financial cost to the Federal Government," said David Buck, president of Minnesota Milk and farmer from Goodhue. "Minnesota Milk is proud to endorse the FEEDD Act."

"We are grateful for the thoughtful and swift action of Representative Craig to help us address the forage and bedding shortfall that will result from increased prevent plant acreage in Minnesota this spring," said Mike Landuyt, president of the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association. "Cattle producers are not able to purchase forages from feed stores and distributors, so harvesting and grazing forages from PP acres without the risk of negative program impacts is vital to our members success for this year."

"Recent flooding has devastated many farmers in the Midwest, and the FEEDD Act helps address an urgent need for many, adding flexibility and tools for farmers and ranchers as they navigate an extremely difficult and uncertain time," said Pete Kappelman, senior vice president of member and government relations for Land O'Lakes, Inc. "The FEEDD Act provides a way to help producers continue safeguarding the soil, while also providing critically-needed forage resources for cattle and livestock. We commend Representative Craig and Representative Johnson for introducing this bipartisan bill and urge Congress to consider this measure without delay."

The FEEDD Act is also supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Conservation Districts, American Sheep Industry Association, Edge Dairy Cooperative, Midwest Dairy Coalition, Farm Credit Council, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers Association, Land O' Lakes, and the National Wildlife Federation.

In Congress, Craig serves on the House Agriculture Committee where she fights for policies that expand markets and prioritize resilience for Minnesota farmers and ranchers. She has held a farmer listening session with Chairman Collin Peterson in Goodhue County, held a roundtable on rural mental health in Wabasha County, and attended a Minnesota Rural Voices listening session with the Minnesota Farmers Union.

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