Disaster Declaration/Feed Shortage 11 Jul 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a federal

disaster declaration to provide assistance for Minnesota farmers hurt

by the shortage of animal feed. The announcement comes after members

of Congress urged the Department to issue a disaster declaration in a

letter earlier this week. Last year’s drought, along with this year’s

late spring and heavy rains have led to exceptional losses to the

alfalfa crop that Minnesota dairy and cattle producers rely on as a

high-protein animal feed.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar says “This support will help dairy and

cattle producers get through these challenging times and ensure our

rural economies remain strong.”

The declaration designates Carver, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault,

Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Le Sueur, Mower,

Olmsted, Rice, Rock, Scott, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, and

Winona counties as primary disaster counties. Anoka, Blue Earth,

Chisago, Cottonwood, Hennepin, McLeod, Martin, Murray, Nicollet,

Nobles, Pipestone, Ramsey, Sibley, Watonwan, and Wright counties were

designated contiguous disaster counties. The declaration makes

producers in these counties eligible for emergency loan assistance to

help address crop losses and high feed costs.

Last month, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and

Representatives Collin Peterson, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan sent a

letter to the Department urging them to grant an emergency exemption

to the November 1st restriction that would allow farmers to harvest a

second crop or graze livestock on forages on prevent plant acres

without penalty. In addition, the members requested emergency

authorizations to allow for additional livestock grazing on

Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program acres and

assistance for producers to plant high forage value cover crops.