The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved disaster relief legislation Thursday to help America's livestock producers hit hard by this summer's drought. Thursday's House passed measure retroactively extends the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for the current budget year. The programs expired at the end of 2011 as part of an accounting gimmick in the nation's current Farm Bill which was enacted in 2008.
Iowa Congressman Tom Latham hailed the measure as an important first step in needed action to bring relief and certainty to livestock producers.
"Iowa farmers are really hurting and feeling the pain of this year's horrific drought," said Latham Thursday in a speech supporting the relief measure on the House floor. "Rain and temperature forecasts for the future are not promising and conditions appear to be worsening every day. We're at a critical point, and while Congress can't legislate rain or temperatures we can certainly provide farmers the certainty that they need to address this disaster which is the worst to hit farming in decades."
The legislation, which now requires a vote in the U.S. Senate before it can move forward, is a stop gap measure to provide immediate relief while work on a comprehensive new Farm Bill continues in Congress. Latham has expressed his great frustration with the gridlock that has hampered consideration of a new Farm Bill to replace the measure expiring at the end of September. In his floor statement on Thursday, Latham was very adamant that House leaders must move quickly on bringing the long-term farm policy measure up for consideration to give all of agriculture certainty for the future.