The harsh winter and wet spring have caused many challenges for Iowa’s farmers. Through phone calls and discussions at June BeefMeets, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s members have made it clear that increased forage access is needed.

The association’s staff and board members have been reaching out to Iowa’s congressional delegation over the past month to find a solution and provide more flexibility to beef producers across the state.

An announcement from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency on June 20 is welcome news for Iowa producers. For this year only, farmers who plant a cover crop on prevented plant acres will be allowed to hay, graze or chop these fields on Sept. 1 with no reduction to their crop insurance payment. Sileage, haylage and baleage will also be permitted.

In a normal year, farmers are allowed access to this forage after Nov. 1 and are never allowed to harvest the cover crop. The agency will continue to evaluate a permanent adjustment. ICA has also advocated for the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act, which would permanently authorize the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to allow haying, grazing and baling of cover crops on prevented plant acres prior to Nov. 1. Representatives Dave Loebsack, Abby Finkenauer and Cynthia Axne are all co-sponsors of the bill.

“ICA and its members are appreciative that RMA responded to the concerns of cattle producers in Iowa,” said CEO of the Iowa Cattleman’s Association Matt Deppe. “The adjusted timeline provides much more flexibility and forage for cattlemen this fall.”

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