Apr 26 2012

Rep. Noem Introduces Livestock Disaster Protection Act

Bill to Extend Federal Assistance Programs for Livestock Owners Affected by Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation to provide a dependable safety net for livestock owners in South Dakota and across the United States. The Livestock Disaster Protection Act would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for five years as well as provide coverage for the current fiscal year, as the programs expired in the Fall of last year.

“The risk our farmers, ranchers and all livestock owners in South Dakota take is undeniable,” said Rep. Noem. “The extreme weather we see across America - from drought to flood to freezes to the extreme heat wave that killed over 1,500 cattle in South Dakota last year - demonstrates the importance of providing a strong safety net. My bill gives some long-term certainty to our livestock owners so they'll keep on taking the risk to contribute to our state and nation's robust agriculture industry.”

Rep. Noem will work with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas to include the Livestock Disaster Protection Act in the new Farm Bill, which is currently being drafted. She specifically included language to ensure these programs were extended for the life of the Farm Bill which will avoid a repeat of the current situation, in which eligibility for LIP, LFP, and ELAP expired in 2011 – even though the Farm Bill goes through this September. The bill also makes the programs a more integral fixture by ensuring they are given a budget baseline. This action should provide livestock owners more certainty about their safety net going forward.

South Dakota livestock, farm and ranch groups have expressed their support for the Livestock Disaster Protection Act.

The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association commended Rep. Noem for her leadership on the issue. South Dakota Cattlemen's Association 2nd Vice President Todd Wilkinson said: “Cattlemen and women are at the mercy of Mother Nature every day we go to work. A predictable and reliable disaster assistance program assures farmers and ranchers that they won’t be rendered helpless in the event of a natural disaster. Neighbors of mine would have faced a catastrophic loss during last summer’s extreme heat had it not been for federal disaster assistance. Disaster programs should be based on the type of disaster with a primary focus of protecting the economic viability of the U.S. cowherd and further providing for appropriate assistance for stocker and feeder needs. That is what Congresswoman Noem’s legislation would do. We commend her for her leadership on this issue and for her steadfast support of America's farmers and ranchers.”

The South Dakota Farm Bureau also indicated its support for the legislation, with President Scott VanderWal saying: “We commend Rep. Noem for looking out for livestock producers and working to provide a safety net in times of major disasters.”

Steve Clements, President of the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association added: “Livestock disaster protection is critical at times of adverse weather and other disasters to help keep farmers & ranchers on their land. We thank Rep. Kristi Noem for her support & work on the Farm Bill in support of the sheep industry.”

The Livestock Disaster Protection Act is also supported by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, South Dakota Farmers Union, South Dakota Association of Cooperatives, South Dakota Pork Producers Council, National Cattleman's Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and others.

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