USDA announces new emergency provisions for ranchers

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Farmers and ranchers will have the option of haying or grazing cover crops this fall and winter without affecting their next-season’s eligibility for crop insurance. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new policy on Wednesday, along with a modification of emergency loans that will allow livestock producers to access money earlier as they face historically high feed prices.

The agency has, over the past month, announced a series of emergency measures to assist livestock producers affected by severe drought. These include a reduction in payments for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres used for emergency haying and grazing, provisions for haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas, measures to provide flexibility in grazing Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, improved access to loans through credit unions and $30 million in new relief funds administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought.

According to Wednesday’s announcement, USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) will file special provisions statements to allow farmers to plant cover crops this fall for use as hay or forage without risking crop insurance coverage in 2013. Also, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will make changes to the emergency loan program that will help producers obtain loans prior to the end of the production cycle. Previously, loan eligibility was based on crop losses determined after the season, with loans based on production during normal years.

Also on Wednesday, Vilsack designated 33 additional counties in 8 states as natural disaster areas, mostly due to drought. In the past six weeks, USDA has designated 1,821 counties in 35 states as disaster areas.

Once again, in announcing the new policies, Vilsack stressed the need for Congress to pass a farm bill as soon as possible “to give USDA more tools to help and to give more certainty to producers in this difficult time."

Read more about Wednesday’s announcements.

Read more about USDA’s previous emergency measures for livestock producers.

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Cimarron Dunes    
Oklahoma  |  August, 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Thanks for all the help Vilsack. I have had to pay for water at about $10 per head per month since June as the ponds have no water or the water quality is so poor I cant let them have it. Had to fence off ponds last year and this year. hay is $100 per bale a one cow eats one every month. Diesel, seed and fertilizer prices high. feed for the calves continues to climb higher, and the price for the calves continues to go lower. Just what I needed was another loan. I will take you up on planting a cool season forage as soon as we get enough rain to plant a crop. Now I can continue to work my ass off to subsidize the American Consumer. Maybe it is time for all of us in food production to tell the American public, sorry go find your food elsewhere or grow your own.

Rudy, Ar  |  August, 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

All of his programs only help rocropers make more money off of their crp and wrp land. These programes are utilized by farmers not ranchers. I believe he is from iowa helping his fellow rowcropers make even more money at the cattlemans expense. I guess 8 dollar corn and 17 dollar beans isn't enough for them... Thanks

August, 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

This all so true. The cattlemen has always taken in the shorts. The farmer works his 6 months and goes to the bank and collects from goverment

Kim Klocke    
N E Iowa  |  August, 26, 2012 at 07:50 AM

As a Cow Calf producer from the hilly northeast part of Iowa, I have strongly agreed most all programs the gov offers us "farmers" is so biased to row crops. They talk conservation and walk only grain production. Now that SOME CRP is being allowed to be harvested adds are full of CRP hay for sale, cattle producers would not be selling needed feed, just the row cropers that don't need the feed.

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