- Published on Monday, 28 January 2013 17:19
Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus introduced legislation this week to extend agriculture disaster assistance programs that expired at the end of the 2011 Fiscal Year and were not part of the nine month Farm Bill extension. The bill would backfill the programs for 2012 and extend them through 2013 while Congress works to pass a long-term Farm Bill. Without an extension many ranchers will be left with no support to recover from severe fires and drought that swept the country last year. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, also joined Baucus’ bill.
“Montana ranchers work hard every day to support jobs across our state and put food on tables across the country, and we can’t turn our backs on them during the worst drought in more than 50 years,” Baucus said. “This bill is the right thing to do for our ranchers and the right thing to do for Montana jobs.”
“Disaster assistance is welcome news with nearly 70 percent of cattle county suffering with the drought, and many areas have been suffering for more than two years. Currently there is no consistency with disaster assistance which makes it questionable if producers can count on it or not. This bill will go a long way to ensure cattle producers will have the stability to operate even when Mother Nature creates challenges. We appreciate the Senators’ efforts to set disaster assistance in statute and we hope it will be considered by Congress as soon as possible,” said Bill Donald, former President of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association from Melville, MT.
Baucus doubled down his effort by also writing a letter to Senate Appropriations leaders this week urging them to provide funding for disaster assistance as well.
Disaster Programs Extended Include:
· Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which compensates ranchers at a rate of 65 percent market value for livestock mortality caused by disasters and reintroduced animals, such as wolves.
· Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which assists ranchers who graze livestock on qualifying drought- or fire-affected pasture land.
· Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP), which compensates producers for disaster losses not covered under other disaster programs.
State and county-level data is available HERE (click on ‘Payments by State for the 5 Disaster Programs’ at the bottom of the page).
As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Baucus worked to create the Livestock Disaster Assistance Program in the 2008 Farm Bill. He included a provision in the Senate Farm Bill to extend the programs permanently and backfill the FY 2012 lapse in livestock disaster. The Senate Farm Bill passed June 21, 2012. But after the House failed to act before the end of 2012, Congress was forced to pass a temporary extension of the Farm Bill that did not include funding for the disaster programs.
Baucus originally introduced legislation to extend the disaster programs in 2012, and attempted to extend them as an amendment to the Hurricane Sandy Disaster package, but the amendment was blocked on a procedural maneuver.
Source: U.S. Senator Max Baucus