Addressing drought concerns, a livestock disaster bill has been introduced (Thursday night) by Senators Max Baucus of Montana, Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. It would extend ag disaster assistance programs that expired at the end of the 2011 fiscal year which were not part of the nine-month 2008 Farm Bill extension.
Missouri Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president Mike Deering says they’re among the Missouri Ag groups pushing for this legislation. Deering tells Brownfield Ag News, “Along with Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Soybean, Missouri Pork, Missouri Corn, several other coalitions – we wrote a letter to our delegation in Washington, D.C. from Missouri and let them know that we have to allocate funding for disaster assistance. Yeah, it’s in the farm bill but there’s no funding for it.”
Deering says things are being done at the state level to provide assistance to drought-stricken cattle operations, but, he adds, no one can make it rain, “Looking for hay, we have a hay directory on our website. We’re doing everything we can to try to help our producers but we feel kind of helpless. There’s not a whole lot we can do.”
The bill would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), and, the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program. It would also extend the (ELAP), the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance program (NAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
Senators Baucus and Stabenow included a provision for a permanent extension of those programs in the Senate Farm Bill that passed last June.
Senator Blunt says Missouri has the second highest number of farms in the nation and the drought has taken a devastating toll on farm families in Missouri and nationwide. He says he “won’t stop fighting for critical disaster relief” to get farmers and ranchers “back on their feet again.”