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Sen. Franken Presses U.S. Agriculture Secretary to Help Alleviate Feed Shortage For Minnesota Farmers

Senator Urges Waiver of USDA Rules Against Harvesting Emergency Forage Crops before November 1st

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) today pressed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to take immediate action to help alleviate the serious feed and forage shortage facing livestock producers in southern Minnesota. Some producers are less than a week away from running out of feed.

In a letter to Secretary Vilsack Wednesday, Sen. Franken requested that the Secretary waive the current prohibition on planting forage and hay crops on prevented planting acres. Farmers would then be allowed to help replenish the dwindling supply of feed and forage by planting emergency crops on these barren acres now and harvesting it before November 1st.

"I have been working with farmers, farm organizations, and officials from your agency to find a solution that could address this serious problem," Sen. Franken wrote to Secretary Vilsack. "The solution we have identified requires your agency to waive the requirement that prevented planting acres not be harvested until November 1st. Waiving this requirement will allow affected producers to harvest cover crops earlier and utilize them to help alleviate feed and forage shortages."

Below is Sen. Franken's letter to Secretary Vilsack.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

I am writing to seek your assistance regarding the recent feed and forage shortage in southeastern Minnesota. Because of an extensive alfalfa winterkill and severe weather conditions that have prevented spring planting, producers in southeastern Minnesota are experiencing a shortage of feed for their livestock.

I have been working with farmers, farm organizations, and officials from your agency to find a solution that could address this serious problem. The solution we have identified requires your agency to waive the requirement that prevented planting acres not be harvested until November 1st. Waiving this requirement will allow affected producers to harvest cover crops earlier and utilize them to help alleviate feed and forage shortages.

I therefore respectfully request that you take immediate action to waive the November 1st prevented planting harvest date, or any other action that would similarly benefit affected producers.

I appreciate your consideration of this request.

 

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