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Posted 06/18/2020

Member Alert

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Member Update: June 18, 2020


The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) is continuing to work on issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other topics.


Following is an update:


NDSA goes virtual

The NDSA had to cancel its traditional June activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization remains committed to communicating with its members in alternative ways until everyone is able to gather again. At 6:30 p.m. CT, June 23, the NDSA will host the Virtual Spring Roundup. Among the presenters: Sen. Robert Erbele, chairman of the Interim Natural Resource Committee; Dr. Tim Petry, North Dakota State University Extension livestock economist; Brad Thykeson, Farm Service Agency executive director; Dan Rorvig, NDSA president; and Julie Ellingson, NDSA executive vice president. To register for the Virtual Spring Roundup, click here.


The NDSA Feeder Council will also host a Virtual Feedlot Tour at 6:30 p.m. CT, July 9. To register for the Virtual Feedlot Tour, click here.


NDSA points out CFAP limitations to decision-makers

The NDSA re-engaged its Livestock Relief Subcommittee to review the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and to offer suggestions for next-step legislation to address some of the gaps. The NDSA Board of Directors approved the committee’s recommendations last week.


The NDSA identified the primary limitations of the CFAP as the stark deadline dates distinguishing between payment rates and program eligibility. For example, a fed steer sold on April 15, 2020, qualifies for a $214 payment, whereas a fed steer sold on April 16, 2020, qualifies only for a $33 payment, and a 800-pound feeder calf sold on April 15, 2020, qualifies for a $139 payment, whereas the same feeder calf sold on April 16, 2020, qualifies for only $33. Similarly, a calf born on May 14, 2020, qualifies for a $33 payment, whereas a calf born on May 15, 2020, does not qualify for a payment. Clearly, cattle industry losses across all live-animal sectors have persisted and, in many cases, grown throughout the second quarter, said Dan Rorvig, NDSA president. “The NDSA views these dates as arbitrary and inappropriate,” he said. “Additionally, industry forecasts predict continued COVID-related losses throughout the year.”


The NDSA has recommended that supplementary funding for cattle producers be pursued.


NDSA opposed to Great American Outdoors Act

The NDSA is disappointed in the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAO), which advanced in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Among other provisions, the bill allows federal agencies to spend $360 million per year to acquire land, which the NDSA opposes. The federal government already owns more than 640 million acres.


The NDSA and 47 other livestock and natural resource groups from across the country shared their opposition to the bill in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leaders.


The groups pointed out, “Federal agencies currently have more assets than they can afford to maintain. The GAO Act simultaneously recognizes and attempts to address this, while also providing hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the government to buy more land through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This approach is counterproductive and will result in a larger federal estate that will require increasing maintenance over time. It’s also worth noting that the bill does nothing to change the way federal agencies prioritize maintenance of assets so that history does not repeat itself.”

“If passed, the GAO Act sentences hundreds of millions of acres of American land and water to a poorly managed future,” the groups also wrote.


The coalition will now turn its attention to lobbying against the bill in the U.S. House, where it will be considered next. To read the coalition’s full letter to Senate leaders, click here.


Livestock Risk Protection insurance changes coming

On June 9, the Risk Management Agency announced changes to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program for feeder cattle, fed cattle and swine starting this summer. Changes include moving premium due dates to the end of the endorsement period and increasing premium subsidies to assist producers.


Specifically, the changes allow premiums to be paid at the end of the endorsement period, putting it in line with other policies, and increase the premium subsidy for coverage levels above 80 percent. Those with an 80 percent or higher coverage level will get a 5-percentage-point subsidy increase.

Producers may buy LRP insurance throughout the year from Approved Insurance Providers, with coverage prices ranging from 70 to 100 percent of the expected ending value of their animals. At the end of the insurance period, if the actual ending value is below the coverage price, producers will be paid an indemnity for the difference. Premium rates, coverage prices and actual ending values are posted daily here.


Emergency declaration extended

On June 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a modification to its Emergency Declaration that would extend it until July 14. Beginning June 15, the regulatory relief will be limited to motor carriers and truck drivers transporting the following freight:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;     
    1. a. FMCSA has informed us that the relief is only available to transporters of finished feed. Transporters of feed ingredients are ineligible.
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and
  3. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.


NDSA supports push for prevent plant date changes

The NDSA is supporting a Congressional push to allow producers to graze or harvest cover crops on prevented plant acres prior to Nov. 1. Lawmakers across the Midwest sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider making an administrative change to move up the date on which producers could hay, graze or chop cover crops on prevented plant acres to Sept. 1. This change was granted last year to help producers address excessive rainfall. The super-saturated conditions persist in many areas in eastern North Dakota, and such a change would be beneficial to livestock producers in those areas. The NDSA supports a permanent date change from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1, which is reflected in introduced legislation coined the Cover Crop Flexibility Act. It is working on both the one-time and permanent approaches to this issue due to the time sensitivity of it.


Petition to put bat on Endangered Species list coming

The Center for Biological Diversity notified state game and fish department personnel across the country, including in North Dakota, that it intends to file a petition under the federal Endangered Species Act to list and designate critical habitat for the little brown bat (myotis lucifugus) soon.


The little brown bat is a species of mouse-eared microbat. The little brown bat is found throughout the northern United States into Canada. It is present in lesser numbers in southern states. The species is vulnerable to extinction due to white-nose syndrome (WNS), the Center argues.


North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame honor

The NDSA is humbled to have been selected as a 2020 North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee in the Special Achievement category. Induction will take place at a special 25th anniversary celebration in Medora on Friday and Saturday. Event and ticket information can be found here. Please come celebrate this special honor with your organization.


NDSA seeks special projects director

The NDSA is seeking an enthusiastic, organized and creative professional with communication experience to direct special projects. Major tasks will include the management of youth, adult and allied industry activities, as well as the production of the North Dakota Cattle Directory and support for the North Dakota Stockman. This is a full-time position with the successful applicant reporting to the office in Bismarck. Some travel within the state, including overnight stays, will be required. A full job description can be found here.


“Intersection of the Cattle and Beef Industries” series continues

Cattle producers, consumers and decision-makers will have an opportunity to learn more about current issues in the cattle and beef industries through a webinar series that North Dakota State University Extension is co-hosting with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and West Virginia University. The next webinar in the “Intersection of the Cattle and Beef Industries” series will be held tonight at 7 p.m. CT.


The remaining webinar schedule is as follows:

• June 18: In-depth perspective of the steer and heifer complex

• June 23: In-depth perspective of cow and bull complex

• June 25: In-depth perspective of drop credit, hide and offal


Registration is required to participate in the webinars. You can register here.


Mental health resources

The coronavirus situation and a culmination of other factors have made this a stressful time for many farm and ranch families across North Dakota. Know that you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, call a friend or a neighbor, our office or 211, a statewide 24-hour crisis intervention, health and human services information and referral line.