Hydroelectric Facility in Iowa
Yesterday, Benson Mayor Terry Collins, City Administrator Rob Wolfington, Economic Development Director Hillary Tweed, and I toured the new Red Rock Hydroelectric facility in Pelli, Iowa. The 50-megawatt system provides electricity to communities in North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. The plant is owned by Missouri River Energy Services based in Sioux Falls, SD (MRES).
I would like to thank MRES for the informative tour. Hydroelectric is truly affordable clean renewable energy and I fully support it. This was a massive project that will not only serve energy needs but has also been an economic benefit to the region. I would like to see projects like this in Minnesota.
The Red Rock Hydroelectric Plant project took eleven years of planning and engineering and four years to construct. It cost $365 million to build.
Haying and Grazing
My office has been in contact with constituents and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) about the ongoing drought. I want to update you on the current situation.
The below map is the most recently updated edition of the drought meter. As you can see, Renville; Swift; Chippewa; and Kandiyohi counties are in category D2 and D3. This means that our four counties are suffering severe or extreme drought.
Many farmers have called in to ask about using Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to help with this crisis. However, the FSA has informed me that when a drought is categorized as severe or extreme a different program kicks in that supersedes CRP. This program is the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP).
Here is an overview of the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. This information comes directly from the Farm Service Agency:
“The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides payments to:
- Eligible livestock owners and contract growers who have covered livestock and
- Who are also producers of grazed forage crop acreage (native and improved pasture land with permanent vegetative cover
- Or certain crops planted specifically for grazing) that have suffered a loss of grazed forage due to a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county.
LFP also provides payments to:
- Eligible livestock owners or contract growers that have covered livestock and
- Who are also producers of grazed forage crop acreage on rangeland managed by a federal agency if, the eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire.
The qualifying drought and qualifying grazing losses, and/or notification of prohibition to graze Federal land due to fire, must have occurred in the grazing period and crop year.
LFP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
An eligible livestock owner or contract grower who, as a grazed forage crop producer, owns or leases grazing land or pastureland physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a:
- D2 (severe drought) intensity in any area of the county for at least eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to one monthly payment;
- D3 (extreme drought) intensity in any area of the county at any time during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to three monthly payments;
- D3 (extreme drought) intensity in any area of the county for at least four weeks during the normal grazing period or is rated a D4 (exceptional drought) intensity at any time during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to four monthly payments; or
- D4 (exceptional drought) in a county for four weeks (not necessarily four consecutive weeks) during the normal grazing period is eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to five monthly payments.”
For more detailed information about how the Livestock Forage Disaster Program works, please click here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/livestock_forage_program_lfp-fact_sheet.pdf
This season has been extremely difficult for farmers across our district. I am committed to making sure that farmers get the information and the help they need. Please call my office with any questions you might have at (651) 296-4228.