Trade organizations call for flexibility in prevented-plant rules to address livestock industry challenges


In a joint letter issued yesterday, the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the North Dakota Bankers Association called on Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator William J. Murphy to consider revising prevented-plant rules in North Dakota this year to address the feed shortage that will result in many areas due to inundated acres because of flooding.

The trade organizations said that, if situations improve and prevented-plant acres dry enough so producers can plant some type of crop, it would be helpful if those acres could be utilized for grazing or haying for livestock more quickly. They proposed that RMA consider allowing producers to harvest (via haying or grazing) a crop seeded on prevented-plant acres after Sept. 1 without payment reduction. The current date is Nov. 1. In instances where the crop is harvested before Sept. 1, they asked for a more reasonable payment reduction, instead of the 65 percent reduction that is specified in the rules now.

The following is the contents of their letter:

Dear Mr. Murphy:
2011 has been an anomalous year in the state of North Dakota. In addition to record or nearrecord snowfall in most areas of the state, a cold, wet spring and unprecedented flooding have inundated many, many acres with water, preventing many agriculturists to plant their insured crop by the final planting date or during the late planting period. At the same time, many livestock
producers are unable to access their hayland due to flooded-out or otherwise impassable roads or even harvest it if they can get there, because it is covered with water. We believe that a feed shortage will result in many areas because of these factors. Forty-two counties have already received the president’s disaster declaration due to flooding.
Risk Management Agency can help solve some of the problems associated with these challenges. If situations improve and prevented-plant acres dry enough so producers can plant some type of cover or other crop, it would be very helpful if these acres could be utilized for grazing or haying for livestock more quickly. As we understand it, prevented-plant rules do not allow agriculturists to utilize any crop until after Nov. 1 without taking a severe 65 percent penalty on the prevented-plant payment. By this time, the crop will have limited nutritional value; may be difficult to harvest, as winter may have already set in again and the snow may render that impossible; and the costs associated with harvesting it (for land preparation, planting, seeding, harvesting, etc.) and the significant payment reduction will create an additional financial hardship for these producers who are already suffering from the extreme weather year.
We urge Risk Management Agency to consider modifying the prevented-plant rules this year as follows:
1) Allow producers to harvest (either by haying or grazing) the crop seeded on prevented-plant acres after Sept. 1 with no payment reduction.
2) If producers need to harvest the crop before Sept. 1, a more reasonable payment reduction should apply.
This plan would have several advantages:
1) It would address a soon-to-be feed shortage in North Dakota.
2) It would aid in “drying-up” overly saturated acres in the state.
3) It would make positive contributions to the soil.
On behalf of the 2,900 members of the 82-year-old North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the 83 members of the 127-year-old North Dakota Bankers Association, we respectfully request your consideration of our proposal.
To further discuss this idea, we invite you to call us. Jason Schmidt can be reached at (701) 320-7958. Rick Clayburgh can be reached at (701) 223-5303.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Jason Schmidt, President
North Dakota Stockmen’s Associatin
Rick Clayburgh, President & CEO
North Dakota Bankers Association
Source: NDSA