USDA will allow early haying, grazing, chopping in 19 SD counties

Staff reports
Farm Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow farmers and ranchers in 19 South Dakota counties to begin haying, grazing and chopping cover crops on prevented plant acres starting on Sept. 1 rather than Nov. 1.

“The past two years have been incredibly difficult for South Dakota farmers and ranchers, with many facing excessive moisture and flooding, while other parts of the state are facing drought conditions,” U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said in a news release announcing the earlier date. “These weather conditions make it difficult for producers to wait until Nov. 1 to begin grazing or harvesting cover crops. I’m pleased USDA has provided some flexibility by allowing them to hay, graze and chop their fields earlier in the season. I hope USDA will consider additional South Dakota counties for early haying and grazing. This will help them to better prepare for the coming fall and winter months.”

The affected counties include Beadle, Brown, Brule, Campbell, Clark, Codington, Day, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Hanson, Hyde, McPherson, Marshall, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink and Walworth.

More information about the announcement is available online at

On June 12, Rounds joined Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and a number of other farm-state senators and representatives in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, requesting an earlier start date for harvesting cover crops.