Support Continues to Build for Reps. Craig, Johnson’s FEEDD Act

June 12, 2019
Press Release
Farm groups endorse bill to address forage shortages in disaster years

WASHINGTON - After U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (R - SD) and Angie Craig (D - MN) introduced the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters (FEEDD) Act earlier this week, local and national support has continued to build for this bipartisan effort to give farmers and ranchers additional emergency flexibility and help alleviate feed concerns.

Excessive moisture and flooding throughout the Midwest has caused a significant delay in the planting season, and has forced many farmers to claim prevent plant under their crop insurance policies. At the same time, these wet conditions put Minnesota farmers and ranchers at risk of losing access to affordable forage.

In the event of excessive moisture, flooding, and drought, the FEEDD Act would create an emergency waiver authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to allow for haying, grazing or chopping of a cover crop before November 1st in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood, or drought without producers taking a further discount on their crop insurance. Incentivizing the planting of cover crops protects the health and quality of farmers’ soil and gives much needed relief to livestock producers seeking affordable forage.

The FEEDD Act is supported by: American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Conservation Districts, American Sheep Industry Association, Edge Dairy Cooperative, Midwest Dairy Coalition, Farm Credit Council, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, Land O' Lakes, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the National Wildlife Federation.

“Cover crops are an essential tool for America’s farmers to support clean water, wildlife and healthy soils while also reducing erosion. This common-sense bill will not only support farmers who choose to utilize cover crops, but it also will help growers whose fields have been devastated by the ongoing severe flooding throughout the Midwest and Great Plains,” said Ryan Stockwell, Director of Sustainable Agriculture for the National Wildlife Federation.  “Thank you to Representatives Craig and Johnson for this common-sense bill and critically needed reform in support of our hardworking farmers and cover crop champions.”

“I want to thank Representatives Johnson and Craig for their leadership on this issue. Our cooperative represents dairy farms throughout the Upper Midwest, and many of them are struggling to get a crop in and are concerned about what the feed outlook is for the coming year,” said Mitch Davis, general manager of Davis Family Dairies, in south-central Minnesota, and treasurer of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative’s Board of Directors. “The FEEDD Act will give dairy farmers and other livestock producers much needed flexibility as we work through the challenges caused by an unusually wet spring.”

“The American Sheep Industry is pleased to support the FEEDD Act,”  John Dvorak, Minnesota Sheep Producer, American Sheep Industry Association. “In this time when so much of our country’s production has experienced disaster, this legislation gives farmers and ranchers needed flexibility to not just manage the risks inherent in agriculture, but to help support themselves and their neighbors by fully using their resources when significant disasters hit.”

“On behalf of the dairy farmers of the Upper Midwest, we greatly appreciate Representatives Craig and Johnson for their work to give farmers most planting flexibility in light of the extreme weather conditions this Spring,” said Steve Etka, Coordinator of the Midwest Dairy Association. “The FEEDD Act will benefit crop and livestock producers alike.”

“After the spring season we’ve just experienced, this legislation is welcome to allow farmers the chance to make the most of what they can of this growing season,” said John Rettler,  President of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative and dairy farmer in Neosho, Wisconsin. “Feed inventories were greatly diminished with the excessive flooding earlier this spring. Whatever inventories dairy and beef farmers had built up over the past few years became pretty valuable after the weather we had late last year. Essentially, this legislation is a win-win for everyone, and needed at a time like now."