The bipartisan Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters with Cover Crops Act (FEEDD Act) has been reintroduced in Congress.

U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) reintroduced the FEEDD Act on February 23.

The Act would provide farmers and ranchers emergency flexibility to help alleviate livestock feed shortages during planting seasons with high levels of prevent plant due to extreme moisture or drought. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided an administrative fix to the haying and grazing dates in 2019 and 2020 after urging from Congress. Under the Federal Crop Insurance Program, producers that are unable to plant a crop due to adverse weather conditions are eligible to receive a small indemnity but are prohibited from growing a cash commodity due to a  missed window in the growing season. The FEEDD Act would create a clear emergency waiver authority for the USDA to allow producers to graze, hay or chop a cover crop before November 1 in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood, or drought. With this waiver, producers would not have to take a further discount on their crop insurance. The bill also directs the Agriculture Secretary to establish regional “harvest dates” for each crop year for predictable rules on prevent plant cover crop harvest annually.

“In Wisconsin, when farmers lose a crop to flooding, drought, or other extreme weather events, they are left with tough choices about how to make up for crop losses and protect their soil from erosion,” Baldwin said.

“This bipartisan legislation will give farmers more certainty about their feed options in disaster years. By reducing uncertainty for farmers, we’re working to ease one of the headaches they face when deciding about putting in cover crops, which will benefit soil health on the farm and water quality in our communities.”