New Farm Bill Signed Into Law With Sheep ProvisionsPresident Obama signed the Farm Bill in February, putting to ease months of uncertainty across the agriculture community.
Sheep specific provisions in the Farm Bill include a new Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program; authorization of the Livestock Indemnity Program to assist with disasters that kill sheep and lambs and, per the request of ASI, a cost-share provision for sheep killed by federally re-introduced or regulated predators including avian predators; extension of the Wool Fabric Provision for five years to correct a trade issue under the 20 year-old North American Free Trade Agreement and maintains the ASI-supported country-of-origin-labeling language.
Passing a new Farm Bill took more than two years. Working out details, particularly ones involving livestock disaster programs, won’t take as long, said Aaron Krauter, the executive state director of the North Dakota Farm Service Agency. Still, farmers and ranchers will need patience, Krauter said.
Among the livestock disaster programs Krauter cited as strong candidates for speedy approval are the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farmraised Fish Program (ELAP). LIP compensates ranchers for weather-related livestock losses, LFP compensates ranchers for grazing losses and ELAP provides emergency assistance to cover losses from adverse weather, including blizzards.
Enactment of disaster livestock programs also could be accelerated because USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has some flexibility in pushing them through to an earlier start date.
Improved Insurance Plan Proposal
During its meeting in early February, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) board suspended sales of the Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb (LRP-Lamb) insurance product.
According to the posting on the Risk Management Agency’s website, “Sales of Livestock Risk Protection for Lamb (LRPLamb) are suspended until further notice.” All previously purchased policies (Specific Coverage Endorsements) will be honored.
Within the coming weeks, ASI’s Sheep Venture Company will be submitting to the FCIC board a new proposal that will update and improve the LRP-Lamb plan of insurance. The company has been working on a package of updates since fall and appreciates this formal opportunity to provide it for consideration.