Rep. Kristi Noem today praised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will prioritize the Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs that were included in the 2014 Farm Bill and aim to make sign up for these programs available by April 15, 2014.  This announcement comes after Rep. Noem sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack urging the agency to make livestock disaster assistance a priority.

“After a difficult drought in 2012, Winter Storm Atlas devastated West River ranchers last October,” said Rep. Noem.  “I am very pleased to see the USDA move quickly to ensure those who suffered losses can receive necessary relief as they work to rebuild their herd this spring.  Not only will the USDA’s swift action impact those families who lost cattle in 2012 and 2013, but every consumer will benefit from the reliable food supply that is protected through the Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs.”

Rep. Noem is the first House member from South Dakota in nearly 20 years to be appointed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee, which negotiated the Livestock Disaster Programs as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.  The Conference Committee based the Livestock Disaster Programs off the House’s language, which was authored by Rep. Noem. 

More specifically, the newly passed bill reauthorizes the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP).  These programs will be retroactive for 2012 and 2013 and will extend through the life of the Farm Bill.  Additionally, the legislation raises the benefit cap to $125,000 for a single producer and $250,000 for a married couple.

The Livestock Indemnity Program, which will be most helpful to the South Dakotans who face losses as a result of recent disasters, provides for a 75% fair market value reimbursement rate, an increase over other proposals offered throughout the Farm Bill negotiations.  

To view a copy of the letter Rep. Noem sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the prioritization of livestock disaster assistance, please click here.

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