Rep Schroeder joins coalition urging USDA to extend protections for Michigans farmers

first_img22Jun Rep. Schroeder joins coalition urging USDA to extend protections for Michigan’s farmers Amid one of the worst growing seasons on record for Michigan’s farmers, State Rep. Andrea Schroeder joined a coalition of 63 lawmakers who urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to modify rules that would prevent farmers from continuing to plant late in the growing season.“Our farmers are grappling with the wettest 12-month period on record in the continental U.S.—this instability not only hurts our rural communities, but also will impact food prices for consumers,” said Schroeder, of Independence Township. “With increased flexibility, we can mitigate the impact this record-setting weather has on our agricultural economy.”According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, agriculture is Michigan’s second-largest economic sector, contributing roughly $104.7 billion in economic activity.In response to protecting this industry, the coalition of lawmakers felt compelled to send this letter of support to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The USDA announced Thursday it would permit farmers to use their unplanted land for livestock grazing, hay, or silage starting September 1 and still maintain eligibility for crop insurance.“We encourage you to help ensure this planting season is not a total loss by providing increased flexibility under Federal Crop Insurance rules for utilizing forage and cover crops, including corn silage, on prevented plant acres,” the letter reads. “Time is of the essence in enacting these changes. . . waiting much longer will remove the option for farmers to plant at all because the seed will no longer be available.”This increased flexibility allows farmers to plant on land normally prohibited by federal crop insurance rules, allowing for more crops to get to market and be raised for feed for a farmer’s livestock.As of June 12, Michigan farmers had only planted 63 percent of planned corn seeds and 43 percent of soybean seeds, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau. From May 2018 to May 2019, this year has been the 12-month period wettest on record, preventing many farmers from planting before the June deadlines elapsed. The deadline for full coverage of crop insurance was June 5 for corn and June 15 for soybeans.Full text of the letter and its signatories can be found here. Categories: Schroeder Newslast_img

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