Senator Kent Conrad was joined by Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester (D-Mont.),and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) yesterday in introducing legislation to extend agriculture and livestock disaster assistance programs that expired last year.
Among the programs extended in the bill is the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which provides disaster assistance for producers affected by extreme adverse weather conditions. Senator Conrad was the author of the original SURE program, which has provided more than $440 million to North Dakota farmers and ranchers. The SURE program is designed to reduce the need for ad hoc disaster assistance for weather-related production losses sustained by farmers and ranchers in North Dakota.
"The SURE program and livestock disaster assistance programs are designed to give farmers and ranchers greater security when disaster strikes," Senator Conrad said."I fought hard to include SURE in the 2008 Farm Bill, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this one-year extension. This bill will cover crop and livestock losses in 2012 for North Dakota's farmers and ranchers and other producers across the nation who are suffering as a result of weather related disasters."
A senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Conrad said disaster assistance is necessary to allow the nation's producers to compete on a more even playing field, and provide protection from the inherent risks associated with farming and ranching.
Other programs included in the bill are the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which compensates ranchers at a rate of 75 percent market value for livestock mortality due to disasters, the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which assists ranchers who gave livestock on pasture land affected by drought or fires, and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP), which compensates producers for disaster losses not covered by other disaster programs.