USDA changes cover crop policy

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Despite recent rains, North Dakota’s ranchers continue to face challenges with the dry conditions.

A policy change from the USDA will hopefully free up more feed and hay.

As a dry year continues, ranchers have been selling more heads of cattle to save on feed, but some policy flexibility from the USDA could help get them a little further.

“If you can’t find enough feed, I don’t know how far they’ll have to go to find it. I think it’s a good thing they’re going to allow that,” said Joel Opp, ND rancher.

They took the time restriction off of haying, grazing, or cutting cover crops.

“Providing for livestock, providing feed, and at the same time making sure producers are made whole. This is a win-win situation and we welcome it,” said Dan Wogsland, NDGGA executive director.

Normally if a farmer hayed, grazed, or cut their cover crops before November first they’d lose up to 65% of their prevented planting payment.

“Farmers and ranchers across this country are suffering from the impacts of this drought. We want to make sure that they are taken care of,” said Wogsland.

Now they’ll receive a 100% of the payment and can get earlier haylage, silage and baleage out of the field.

This is just one of the policy changes coming out of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency to encourage farmers to use cover crops.

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