Bill Extends Federal Livestock Disaster Programs
May 3, 2013

As a new Farm Bill continues to take shape, a bill in Congress would ensure that one of its provisions is preserved -- a series of disaster aid programs for livestock producers.    
 
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) has reintroduced legislation to grant five-year extensions to the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Program and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program. 
 
The legislation would apply retroactively to cover losses in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, when drought affected more than 70 percent of cattle-producing areas across the country, notes Chase Adams with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. 
 
Peter Orwick of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) commends the Congresswoman for her leadership on this legislation noting that sheep producers don't have as many options to manage risk as other agriculture commodities. In fact, Orwick explains that the ASI office has been taking calls from producers this spring who have lost lambs in the late April snow storms. 
 
The Farm Bill extension of 2012 authorized disaster assistance but was subject to appropriations. Orwick's advice to producers is to document the death loss with pictures and third-party (non-relative and non-employee) confirmations. 
 
The Livestock Indemnity Program helps producers defray the costs of replenishing their herds when animals are killed by a natural disaster, while the Livestock Forage Program compensates for grazing losses.