A newly introduced bill could help alleviate feed shortages.
“Across the state of South Dakota and really nationwide have experienced a spring in which excess moisture has been a problem,” vice president of South Dakota Corn Growers Association, farms in McCook County, Scott Stahl said.
“If we’re not growing corn, what are we going to put in the cattle’s bellies? That’s going to be a real problem and producers are not looking for another government program, they cannot feed their cattle dollar bills. What they want is the flexibility to help themselves,” Representative Dusty Johnson said.
The bill would create an emergency waiver for the USDA to allow farmers to graze or harvest a cover crop before November 1.
“Right now there are regulations around crop insurance that say producers cannot put their cattle out into fields to be able to eat that forage until November 1, that is far too late, there is not available feed that we need for these cattle,” Johnson said.
“Moving it up 60 days would allow for the nutrition to be in the plant when it’s harvested, the November 1 date is kind of set purposely so that there is little to no nutritional value in the cover crop,” Stahl said.
This is something farmers could benefit from in the case of unfavorable conditions.
“It would help to provide options when it comes to feeding cattle, the cattle industry is very important to South Dakota; as well as, the entire ag industry. (It) is the number one industry in South Dakota, so it’s nice to see producers and people in the industry have more options and being able to keep their herd going,” Stahl said. “It’s nice to see (the) government have some flexibility when it comes to something like a disaster we’ve been fighting this spring.