Cooperative Network, the trade association representing cooperative businesses, and the four Farm Credit groups serving Wisconsin urged USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to immediately waive the November 1 date linked to harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres. The request was joined by the CEOs of AgStar Financial Services ACA, Badgerland Financial, Cooperative Network, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, and United FCS.
"As you know, Wisconsin and surrounding states have experienced an unusually wet spring which has led to many corn acres that will not be planted. While at the same time, livestock farmers are also experiencing a severe shortage of forage due to last year's drought coupled with significant winter kill on alfalfa acres. This situation has left many cattle and dairy farmers with few options but to liquidate or downsize herds," stated the letter.
The group requested Sec. Vilsack's immediate action to lift the November 1 date linked to Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) policies which would serve as an incentive for all farmers to plant cover crops on prevented acres which will have multiple benefits, ranging from soil and water conservation to providing much needed forage for livestock farmers.
The letter also requested that farmers who plant forage crops on prevented plant acres be allowed to hay and/or graze those acres at any time with no prevented plant payment reduction.
Cooperative Network serves more than 600 member-cooperatives, owned by more than 6.1 million Wisconsin and Minnesota residents, by providing government relations, education, marketing, and technical services for a wide variety of cooperatives including farm supply, health, dairy marketing, consumer, financial, livestock marketing, telecommunications, electric, housing, insurance, worker-owned cooperatives, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit www.cooperativenetwork.coop.