Last week, Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.) introduced a standalone disaster bill making supplemental agricultural disaster assistance available for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Co-sponsors of the bill included Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).
The language included the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) providing benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather that occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011, including losses because of hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold. This bill extends LIP for 2012 and 2013 losses at 65 percent payment rate (the 2008 Farm Bill set the payment rate at 75 percent). The bill also includes language covering losses if an animal is killed by a government reintroduced or protected animal (i.e. gray wolf).
Also included in the bill was a modified the Livestock Forage Program, which provides financial assistance to producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between the same dates. Fire losses must have occurred on federally managed lands.
The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program, the Tree Assistance Program and fruit losses due to 2012 freezes were also addressed in the newly introduced bill.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.