March 29, 2019
Nine farm-state senators wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging USDA to provide Livestock Indemnity Program assistance to producers as quickly as possible.
“At the peak of calving and lambing seasons, livestock producers in the Rocky Mountains, the Plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes regions have had devastating livestock losses due to these extreme weather events,” the letter reads.
The senators signing the letter:
John Thune, R-South Dakota;
Chuck Grassely, R-Iowa;
Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota;
John Hoeven, R-North Dakota;
Jerry Moran, R-Kansas;
Joni Ernst, R-Iowa;
Michael Rounds, R-South Dakota;
Steve Daines, R-Montana; and
Jon Tester, D-Montana.
The senators ask Perdue to delegate LIP approval authority to Farm Service Agency County Committees, as was done in 2018. County Committees members are elected by their peers and are the most familiar with local weather, disaster events and the livestock management practices of area farmers and ranchers. This delegation would help ensure that LIP assistance is provided to producers in need as soon as possible, the letter reads.
“In addition, we request that you prioritize LIP regulatory updates as you work on the implementation of the 2018 farm bill,” the senators write.
The senators also ask for USDA to revisit LIP eligibility requirements regarding weather criteria.
“Cold is much deadlier to livestock, especially newborn or young livestock, at +10 degrees Fahrenheit when accompanied by high winds and/or excessive moisture than simply -10 degrees Fahrenheit,” the letter reads. “In a blizzard, death can occur to a newborn calf in less than an hour when unintentionally exposed to these conditions. A combination of weather factors occurring simultaneously often kills and harms livestock over a short period of time compared to a single adverse weather event, and to place a finite time eligibility requirement such as “duration for at least three consecutive days,” is not realistic and can result in livestock producers being determined ineligible and denied LIP assistance by FSA for legitimate livestock death losses. In addition, severe storm events that occur at critical times, such as calving and lambing cycles, are much more devastating than when livestock are older and much more able to withstand weather-related stresses.”
Source: Office of Sen. Joni Ernst, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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