Today Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO05) and Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO06) introduced new legislation (H.R. 1454) to help area farmers, ranchers and producers recover from last year's record drought. This legislation would make critically important supplemental agriculture disaster assistance available.
"I am very pleased Congressman Sam Graves is cosponsoring this legislation with me," said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II. "We both believe the bond between rural and urban legislators needs to be strengthened, so our constituents are represented fairly and treated justly in Washington."
"The livestock industry is critical to Missouri's economic well-being," said Congressman Graves. "For instance, Missouri is the second largest producer of beef cattle in the nation, and sixth in overall cattle production. But cattle farmers and other livestock producers have been particularly hard hit by last year's historic drought. Our bill helps them receive assistance so they don't lose their livelihoods."
Both Congressmen know last year's drought was devastating and have spent numerous hours with constituents in their districts listening to concerns. The driving force behind this legislation is to provide much needed relief in their districts. They are also hoping to push leadership into action on disaster assistance and on the reauthorization of a long overdue 5-year farm bill.
The bill would extend disaster assistance to programs that expired in October of 2011 and make funds available for Fiscal Year 2012-2013. It would extend 4 of the 5 USDA disaster programs that were created in the 2008 Farm Bill. The authorization for these programs expired in October of 2011. They were reauthorized in legislation this past January, but they were not given specific funding levels.
This legislation includes changes in the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Bees, & Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and fruit losses from 2012 freezes in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).
"Our hope is, by extending assistance in these areas, we can keep these crucial safety net programs available and accessible to those who desperately need them," said Representative Cleaver.
"Constituents from my district and across the state of Missouri have been contacting my office over the last year asking when disaster assistance for livestock would be restored by Congress," said Congressman Graves. "They have been waiting on a farm bill to help restore the exhausted disaster assistance funds but Congress has failed to act. That is why I have joined with my good friend Congressman Cleaver to introduce this bipartisan bill that will help the livestock industry recover from last year's drought."