Hoeven: USDA Approves Request for Emergency Haying and Grazing for Five Flood-Impacted Counties

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has approved emergency haying and grazing for the following counties: Burke, Bottineau, McHenry, Stutsman and Ward.  Hoeven earlier this month requested that the national Farm Service Agency (FSA) permit emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land for North Dakota counties affected by severe flooding. 

“Considering the hardship endured by our farmers and ranchers this year, it’s important that the USDA use all of the resources at their disposal to help,” Hoeven said. “That includes emergency haying and grazing, as well as flexibility on the harvesting of cover crops.” 

Hoeven has also asked the secretary to make Sept. 1 the date for harvesting cover crops planted on prevented plant land without a cost-prohibitive penalty.  Currently producers who are unable to plant an insured crop and who will receive a prevented plant payment cannot plant a cover crop and harvest that crop prior to Nov. 1 without incurring a penalty. If producers harvest prior to Nov. 1, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) requires them to take a 65 percent cut in their prevented plant payment and premium on that acreage. 

If RMA would allow the harvest date to be moved to Sept. 1, Hoeven said, it would provide relief for farmers with flooded land; help pull water out of the soil, meaning less water next year; provide much needed forage for livestock; and help address salinity problems that will occur if the prevented plant ground does not have a cover crop. If North Dakota producers must wait until November to harvest, Hoeven said he’s concerned that those benefits will not be realized.