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Reps. Benson, Davids, Drazkowski, Sens. Nelson, Miller Urge Minnesota’s Federal Delegation to Help Livestock Farmers

Fri, Jun 14th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

ST. PAUL – With area livestock farmers struggling because of alfalfa losses, State Representatives Mike Benson (R-Rochester), Greg Davids (R-Preston), Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) and State Senators Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) have contacted officials in Washington in hopes that they will help provide our farmers needed assistance.

Through a combination of winter kill, a wet spring and the lingering effects of previous droughts, livestock farmers are dealing with severe alfalfa losses around the state, especially in southeastern Minnesota. By replanting on these damaged acres now they will not be able to harvest needed alfalfa on their land until next year.

“The winter kill of alfalfa has left these farmers wondering where feed for their livestock will be coming from this year, and that’s unacceptable,” Rep. Davids said.

“Our livestock farmers know that summer seeded alfalfa establishment is not going to help them with their needs this year,” Rep. Drazkowski noted.

The option area state lawmakers are pushing for would remove the seeding and/or harvest dates for planting cover crops on prevented planted acres. This could happen through a declaration by the USDA.

The lawmakers recently sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture urging him to issue the declaration. They also sent letters to Senators Klobuchar and Franken and Congressman Walz, asking them to lobby the agriculture secretary in order to help our livestock farmers. A declaration would also come at no cost to the government

“It is crucial that we find a way to allow our livestock producers to grow the forages they need in order to remain viable,” Senator Miller said.

“All of us realize that our livestock industry is critical to Minnesota’s economic success, and immediate action is needed in order to ensure its continued success,” Sen. Nelson added.

“Allowing farmers to plant forages that can be harvested this year on prevented planted acres is a win-win scenario for everyone,” Rep. Benson said. “It provides a needed cover crop for these non-planted acres and also keeps livestock farmers from having to liquidate herds due to a lack of feed.”

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