By: Will Robinson
Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall tells Brownfield the proposed PASTURE Act is needed to provide cattle producers emergency feed resources while packing plants are not fully operational.
The bill would allow Ag Secretary Perdue to open Conservation Reserve Program lands to be used for hay and cattle grazing while cattle producers are having to feed their livestock for longer than normal. Currently, CRP land is only allowed to be used for cattle consumption during extreme weather events such as drought.
Marshall said while packers are working towards getting back to full capacity, the bill provides a needed time extension to producers.
“I think all we probably need is a buffer of about six weeks, maybe eight weeks’ time,” he said. “Through the end of this grazing season would be very helpful.”
Marshall said the bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig, should be able to move quickly through the House.
“I’m very optimistic, we’ll be able to get this in on a bigger package this summer,” Marshall said.
In a statement provided by Craig to Brownfield, she said the bill will help to relieve some strain placed on Minnesota and other midwestern farmers.
“By adding pandemics to CRP emergency flexibility, we are modernizing conservation policy to address the complex emergencies facing our farmers and ranchers,” Craig said.
But Marshall says if some of the cattle are not able to get into the larger plants soon enough, they might become too big to process in those facilities.