Rep. Kristi Noem introduced legislation today to provide a dependable safety net for livestock owners in South Dakota and across the United States. The Livestock Disaster Protection Act would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for five years, as well as retroactive coverage for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
"The risk our farmers, ranchers and all livestock owners in South Dakota take is undeniable," said Rep. Noem. "The extreme weather we see across America - from drought to flood to freezes to the extreme heat - demonstrates the importance of providing a strong safety net. My bill gives some long-term certainty to our livestock owners so they'll keep on taking the risk to contribute to our state and nation's robust agriculture industry."
Rep. Noem will work with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas to include these provisions in the new Farm Bill, which is expected to be drafted in the coming weeks. She specifically included language to ensure these programs were extended for the life of the Farm Bill which will avoid a repeat of the current situation, in which eligibility for LIP, LFP, and ELAP expired in 2011 before the rest of the Farm Bill expired. The bill also makes the programs a more integral fixture by ensuring they are given a budget baseline. This action should provide livestock owners more certainty about their safety net going forward.
South Dakota and national livestock, farm and ranch groups have expressed their support for the Livestock Disaster Protection Act.
"With over 70 percent of cattle country facing the effects of crippling drought, a permanent disaster program is more important than ever for our nation's cattlemen and women," said Scott George, President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and a dairy and beef producer from Cody, Wyoming. "NCBA supports a permanent disaster program in a full five-year farm bill that allows producers to manage risks and we greatly appreciate and support Congresswoman Noem's efforts to keep disaster assistance at the forefront on Capitol Hill."