Water has kept some fields inundated with moisture.

Flooded farmers asked to report spring seeded crops

•Cover crops havest day moved

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) urged Minnesota farmers hit by flooding to report spring-seeded crops by the extended deadline of July 22.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently extended the deadline for states impacted by recent flooding and heavy moisture.

“Our farmers are the backbone of our economy, and we must do everything we can to help them during severe weather challenges like those they’ve experienced this spring,” Klobuchar said. “Extending the deadline to report crop acreage offers farmers more flexibility on delayed plantings and other fieldwork while ensuring they still qualify for critical USDA programs. I encourage farmers impacted by wet conditions to talk to their local FSA office or crop insurance agent by July 22.”

“This has been a tough few years for farmers, and we need to make sure we are doing our part to give them the resources they need,” Smith said. “I’m pleased to see the USDA extending its deadlines for crucial programs and I encourage all Minnesotan farmers to take advantage of the new filing deadlines.”  

Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs. A crop acreage report documents all crops and their intended uses and is an important part of record-keeping for farms and ranches.

Cover crops harvest date moved to Sept. 1

In a win for both farmers and conservation efforts, this year’s cover crops final harvest date has been shifted to Sept. 1. This new date applies to silage, haylage, and baleage in addition to haying and grazing. 

The announcement comes after members of Congress took action to defend farmers planting cover crops on prevented plant acres.

On June 7, two senators led a bipartisan group urging USDA to quicken the release of new cover crop guidelines, and allow haying and grazing of cover crops before the previous deadline of Nov. 1. Their letter cited environmental benefits and noted the late harvest date would likely discourage farmers from planting cover crops. If farmers harvest too early, their prevented plant payments could be reduced. 

The senators also noted cover crops will be an important soil building and risk management tool, especially for acres that weren’t planted due to the wet spring planting season.

Three days later, two other senators introduced the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act. If passed, the act would create an emergency waiver allowing farmers to graze, chop, or hay cover crops before Nov. 1 in the event of feed shortage due to flood or drought.

The shift in date means farmers who eliminate their cover crops on or after Sept. 1 will still be eligible for full prevented plant indemnity. This timely change demonstrates the power of congressional leaders who are in touch with the needs of their constituents.

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