Washington D.C. (KELO AM) - U.S. Senator John Thune questioned U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack about livestock disaster assistance for producers in South Dakota at a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on USDA implementation progress of 2014 Farm Bill programs.
Thune requested an update from Secretary Vilsack regarding the applications and payments for the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). According to Secretary Vilsack, as of May 1st, 326 LIP applications have been received from South Dakota producers for livestock death losses and all had been paid. More than 2,260 LFP applications have been received in South Dakota for grazing losses and a portion of those applicants have received payment.
“I’m pleased USDA has worked quickly to provide a needed lifeline to the ranchers throughout western South Dakota who lost more than 40,000 head of livestock in last October’s winter storm Atlas,” said Thune. “I will continue to work with the USDA to monitor the process to ensure that producers in need of assistance continue to receive aid as quickly as possible.”
After passage of the 2014 Farm Bill in early February, Thune led a number of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the USDA requesting it make the implementation of livestock disaster programs a top priority in the implementation process. Following pressure from Thune, USDA announced it would make both the LFP and LIP available for signup starting April 15th.
Thune authored the first-ever multi-year livestock disaster assistance programs which were included in the 2008 Farm Bill. Unlike the previous ad hoc disaster bills, these programs provided timely disaster payments from 2008 through 2011. These programs were reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill retroactive to cover 2012 and 2013 losses. Thune also secured a 10-year baseline for livestock disaster programs to ensure they will not expire before the end of the 2014 Farm Bill, which expires at the end of the 2018 crop year.
Audio of Thune’s questions for Secretary Vilsack is available here.