Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already made more than $175 million in disaster payments to America's livestock producers after implementing two new programs in 2009, demonstrating USDA's commitment to rapidly meeting the goals of Congress and providing farmers and ranchers with timely and effective disaster assistance.
"America's farmers and ranchers deserve efficient and effective assistance programs to help get through natural disasters," said Vilsack. "While the previous ad hoc disaster assistance often was too little, too late, because we were able to get these new programs up and running quickly, we are already beginning to achieve Congress' goal of helping producers recover losses rapidly and more thoroughly."
The 2008 Farm Bill provisions replace previous ad-hoc disaster assistance programs and are funded through the Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) was a strong advocate for the programs in the 2008 Farm Bill," commented Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "Due to weather wrecks in late 2008 and in the spring of 2009, sheep producers were a large part of the applications and the payments to help them re-stock sheep on their operations is immensely helpful. We have worked with the Agricultural Marketing Service since spring on market values for this brand new program and with the Farm Service Agency on implementation and appreciate both agencies in delivering services to sheep producers."