or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of USDA

U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to improve the process for range livestock producers to receive assistance for excess losses due to extreme weather conditions.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Enzi and Bennet, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Udall (D-CO) and John Thune (R-SD) and Reps. Scott Tipton (R-CO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT), asked the Department to address reports from livestock producers in their states that Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) eligibility and reporting requirements were applied inconsistently among county and state Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

"Producers want to provide the appropriate documentation for claims when available but these inconsistencies in policies have made it difficult to complete claims in a timely and orderly manner," the Senators wrote in the letter. "We ask that the Department carefully consider these concerns and the wide variety of challenges that range livestock producers face when it is reviewing LIP claims. Although similar disaster programs have proven beneficial to field crop losses, livestock operations face unique challenges that need to be considered for LIP."
Full text of the letter is included below.

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

We write to ask for your assistance regarding the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). As authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, LIP was intended by Congress to ensure that livestock producers, when appropriate, could receive assistance for excess losses due to extreme weather conditions. In the interest of fiscal responsibility, LIP was also designed to begin the process of budgeting for agriculture disasters in the Farm Bill to avoid the delays and complications often associated with ad-hoc disaster programs. As you are aware, the authorization for LIP expired on September 30, 2011. However, as the Department continues to consider claims for losses that occurred prior to October 1 we ask that you consider the following information for requests made by open range livestock producers.

During the course of the program, livestock producers have continued to share with us instances in which LIP eligibility and reporting requirements were applied inconsistently among county and state Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Feedback we have received from constituents includes inconsistent standards for verifying losses after a disaster as well as confusion over eligibility requirements for LIP benefits from year to year. Producers want to provide the appropriate documentation for claims when available but these inconsistencies in policies have made it difficult to complete claims in a timely and orderly manner. For range losses in remote areas, there have also been instances in which producers, unable to immediately locate lost animals due to extreme blizzard or flooding conditions, were unable to qualify for LIP assistance.
We ask that the Department carefully consider these concerns and the wide variety of challenges that range livestock producers face when it is reviewing LIP claims. Although similar disaster programs have proven beneficial to field crop losses, livestock operations face unique challenges that need to be considered for LIP. In the future, we also hope that we can work with the Department to improve the program for range livestock operations as a reauthorization is considered. Thank you for your time and attention in this matter. We look forward to your response.


Source:
Back to top