November 30, 2007
November 30, 2007 - The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) commends the bi-partisan group of Senators for the recommendations made to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the implementation of the Livestock Compensation Program (LCP).
In a letter signed by 24 Senators, the department was asked to administer the LCP as Congress intended for it to be delivered to provide much-needed assistance to livestock producers who suffered damages and losses due to natural disasters in 2005, 2006 and part of 2007.
"This is an important issue for many sheep producers given the loss of feed in disaster areas resulting in higher feed costs due to drought," stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "We are pleased that Senators are continuing the effort to ensure as much assistance as possible reaches the farm and ranch."
When the LCP was implemented in 2002, it had a dramatically positive impact on operations with timely financial help following severe feed shortages.
"We are disappointed that USDA has chosen to effectuate very restrictive, unnecessary and administratively cumbersome LCP implementation policies that would result in producer ineligibility for millions of dollars authorized by Congress to assist producers who suffered legitimate livestock losses," the Senators stated. "We find this current USDA LCP policy unacceptable."
The Senators specifically addressed three concerns:
- livestock ineligibility due to livestock not being physically located in a declared or contiguous county after the beginning date of the eligible disaster;
- livestock physically located in a declared or contiguous county on the beginning date of the disaster, but determined ineligible due to USDA-perceived producer intent as to the disposition of the livestock; and
- reduction in payment amount due to the Farm Service Agency County Committee setting inaccurate maximum loss caps.
"We respectfully request that you re-examine the current implementation policies for LCP and that prior to publishing the regulation governing this program that you meet with us to discuss and understand the intent of Congress to provide much-needed assistance to the livestock producers who suffered damages and losses due to natural disasters," concluded the Senators in their letter.
Showing support by affixing their name to this letter included Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sam Brownback (Kan.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Larry Craig (Idaho), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Pete Domenici (N.M.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Michael Enzi (Wyo.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Ken Salazar (Colo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), John Thune (S.D.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33