'I need feed!' Hay shortage on the rise - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

'I need feed!' Hay shortage on the rise

WABASHA, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The saturated ground and continuous showers are leaving Alfalfa farmers in a tough spot. But those trying to make the most of it are finding issues in government regulations.

"This spring has been unusual in many regards," said John McRaem the Executive Director of Wabasha County's Farm Service Agency.

The alfalfa growers and the livestock producers know this is a bad situation.

"Wabasha County is one of the top ten in the state and we probably lost 50 to 70 percent depending on the area," said McRae.

"We've been planting in mud this year," said livestock producer Brian Goihl.

Instead of the crop, it's the problem that has been growing in recent years.

In 2011 it was the high price on corn and beans that had farmers opting out of alfalfa. In 2012 it was the drought hampering production.

And this year, "I don't know how the ground could be more saturated than it is right now," said McRae.

"I keep saying that I'll deal with the hand I've been dealt but we just can't get moving forward," said Goihl.

Brian's fields sit empty, as does his shed that should have enough feed for his livestock.  He only has two weeks of feed supply remaining.

"This is the alfalfa seed that we should have had planted," he said, standing over a pallet of unopened seed bags, "but we can't get to the fields."

Goihl is going to seed the field, because the Farm Service Agency requires him to.  He explained the field must be left clear to collect insurance on the loss of his hay crop.  If the acres are used for something else... it goes against policy.  But with 140 hungry mouths, "I need feed.  We need to be able to feed our cattle to be able to get through until next year."

Sen. Al Franken is pressing the U-S Secretary of Agriculture to take action to help alleviate the shortfalls of feed for livestock.  In a statement released by his office,  Franken is pushing to waive a prohibition that prevents farmers from planting hay on prevented-planting acres.

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