Noting that southern Minnesota livestock producers were days from running out of feed, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) last week asked USDA to immediately waive the current prohibition on planting forage crops on prevented planting acres.

The move, Franken wrote in an urgent letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, would allow farmers to plant emergency crops on barren acres now and harvest them before Nov. 1.

"I have been working with farmers, farm organizations and officials from your agency to find a solution that could address this serious problem," Franken wrote. "The solution we have identified requires your agency to waive the requirement that prevented planting acres not be harvested until Nov. 1. Waiving this requirement will allow affected producers to harvest cover crops earlier and utilize them to help alleviate feed and forage shortages."

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