As livestock producers continue to deal with the results of a debilitating drought this fall, corn growers may lend a helping hand.
A new initiative from the North Dakota Corn Grower’s and Stockmen’s Associations will encourage corn farmers to allow ranchers to graze or bale leftover stalks after the harvest in October.
Dale Ihry, executive director, shared the idea with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., farm commodity and livestock groups and bankers gathered for a round table discussion about the drought and 2018 Farm Bill at Farm Credit Services in Mandan on Friday.
Heitkamp ended there her two-day tour of the western part of the state, which included stops at Farm Service Agency offices, a bee farm and a flax processing facility.
“What we’re going through right now, both with low commodity prices and bad weather especially out here is what I call, we’re stress-testing this farm bill,” Heitkamp told reporters before the meeting. “When we wrote the farm bill, we had great crops and great prices. So now we’re going to find out if this works.”
Ihry is working with the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association to craft the project, which will help livestock producers connect with corn farmers through the NDSU feed list website and the state drought hotline.
He said corn farmers will be asked to donate their stover or offer it at a reduced cost. Corn farmers may take some hit due to lost nutritional value in their soil.
“It’s a nice marriage between the two entities,” Julie Ellingson, executive vice president of the stockmen’s association, told the Tribune by phone. “That is one more tool in the toolbox to manage through a challenging time”
The idea was one of many presented at the meeting, in which association leaders shared with Heitkamp concerns about drought assistance, including difficulties grazing Conservation Reserve…