USDA changes final haying and grazing date

RMA's administrator say the changes are for 2019 only.

Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres will be permitted to hay, graze or chop those fields earlier than November this year, USDA announced Thursday.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date to Sept. 1 to help farmers who were prevented from planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring. The date was previously Nov 1.

Related: IDOA launches state cover crop program. Read more here.

RMA also announced silage, haylage and baleage will be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing for this year. Farmers can hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres on or after Sept. 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.

“These adjustments have been made for 2019 only,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “RMA will evaluate the prudence of a permanent adjustment moving forward.”

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said he and other farmer leaders discussed this issue with RMA while in Washington D.C. on June 10.

"It is encouraging to see the administration take notice of agriculture’s struggles and respond with good news," he said. "We needed a win considering the mounting weather challenges in this 2019 planting season.”

Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said farmers appreciate the needed flexibility being granted by RMA.

"Our farmers who were prevented from planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring will now have the opportunity to hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage and baleage," Duvall said. "This is an incredibly important change to ensure livestock producers have the necessary feed to properly care for their animals throughout the rest of this year.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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