Saratoga, NY – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced this week that following input from Members of Congress, agricultural producers, and stakeholders, they will not update their conservation practice standards for cover crops. Earlier this spring, Congresswoman Stefanik wrote a letter to the NRCS outlining the significant challenge the change would have presented for farmers who utilize cover crops as a tool to protect the soil and as a secondary feed source for animals. Congresswoman Stefanik issued the below statement:

“I am proud that the USDA has decided, following my advocacy, to halt changes to their cover crop standards and allow our farmers to maintain the same practices they have used for years. I have heard from farmers across my district who harvest cover crops as an important conservation tool and are concerned about increased overregulation at USDA. I will always stand up for them and support their efforts to be responsible stewards of the land.”

“Cover crops play an important role for New York farmers, serving as both a soil protection conservation practice as well as a forage crop to feed animals. New York Farm Bureau thanks USDA for its recognition of this dual purpose and for continuing to allow for the mechanical harvest of cover crops under the standard. NYFB appreciates Congresswoman Stefanik’s outreach to USDA on this important issue and efforts to ensure conservation practices meet the needs of New York farmers,” said David Fisher, President of the New York Farm Bureau.

Read Congresswoman Stefanik’s original letter to NRCS here.