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Ground level view of a rye cover crop with cows grazing in the background Lon Tonneson
EARLIER GRAZING: The new date change allows farmers to hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented planting acres and still maintain eligibility for their full indemnity payment.

USDA approves early grazing date in select counties

The Risk Management Agency has moved up haying and grazing dates of prevented planting acres.

Nineteen South Dakota counties and 23 North Dakota counties qualify for early haying and grazing of cover crops on prevented planting acres. USDA’s Risk Management Agency recently changed the grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1.

The South Dakota counties are: Beadle, Brown, Brule, Campbell, Clark, Codington, Day, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Hanson, Hyde, McPherson, Marshall, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink and Walworth.

North Dakota counties are: Barnes, Benson, Bottineau, Cass, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder, La Moure, Mcintosh, Nelson, Ramsey, Ransom, Rolette, Sargent, Sheridan, Steele, Stutsman, Towner, Traill and Wells.

The change allows farmers to hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented planting acres and still maintain eligibility for their full indemnity payment.

Mike Cronin, a South Dakota Corn Growers Association board member who farms near Gettysburg and has livestock, said in a statement that the date change was welcome news. SDCGA had been lobbying for the change. Cronin had planted a quarter and a half of prevented plant acres to Sudangrass and German millet. Because of the policy change, he was able to start cutting it for livestock feed on Sept. 1.

“We used so much of our feed the last two years. The grass was so bad,” he said. “We really need that feed.”

The early emergency haying and grazing release is only for 2020. However, according to SDCGA, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, who are members of the Senate and House agriculture committees, are working on a plan to make Sept. 1 a permanent date.

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