You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Senators propose disaster assistance as drought continues
With a new Congress in session, three U.S. senators have stepped up to pinch hit for the U.S. farmers and ranchers affected by Mother Nature. Sens. Max Baucus, Debbie Stabenow, and Roy Blunt have introduced a bill that will fill the gap that House Resolution 8 -- the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 -- did not. The Relief Act did not include an extension of the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which expired Sept. 30, 2011, with the 2008 Farm Bill.
This is not the first attempt to pass a disaster bill. Several were introduced.
One of the bills that failed included HR 6233 -- the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012. The $383 million bill package passed the House by a simple majority vote in August.
With the clock ticking, the 2008 Farm Bill was extended until Sept. 30, as Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, but this did not address the disaster issues.
Why the concern?
Texas was hit with the worst drought in its history in 2011 with ag losses surpassing $7.62 billion. By the end of 2011, officials classified approximately 61.92 percent of Texas and five other states in the South in the extreme to exceptional range on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
In 2012, the drought spread to more than 2,000 U.S. counties, including the American heartland. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service’s U.S. Drought 2012: Farm and Food Impacts report, 67 percent of cattle production and approximately 70-75 percent of corn and soybeans were classified as severe or greater (drought monitor).
“More than 80 percent of the acres of major field crops planted in the United States are covered by Federal crop insurance,” the report stated, “which can help to mitigate yield or revenue losses for covered farms.”
See related article, page 2D, for 2012 U.S. crops acreage yields. ( http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=48938)
The effects of the drought in the cattle industry have forced herd reductions and liquidations, with the cattle herd reaching its lowest level since 1952. Other livestock sectors are beginning to be affected, as well.
In mid-January, Cargill officials announced the closure of the Plainview, Texas, beef processing plant. This plant employed approximately 2,000 people. Tight cattle supplies and the drought were the reasons for the closure.
Sens. Baucus, Stabenow, and Blunt, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, stated in a Jan. 25 press release, “Many ranchers and farmers will be left with no support to recover from severe fires and drought that swept the country last year as well as early freezes for fruit growers.”
“We cannot allow farmers to be wiped out because of a few days of bad weather,” said Stabenow, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “Agriculture supports ... 16 million jobs nationwide, and when key parts of the industry are hit this badly it impacts our whole economy.”
Farmers and ranchers are being encouraged to contact their respective U.S. senators to encourage passage of this bill. In the meantime, expect prices for farm commodities to continue to rise.
Ag Disaster Assistance Program
Disaster programs extended with the Baucus, Stabenow, Blunt Act include:
•“Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which compensates ranchers at a rate of 65 percent market value for livestock mortality caused by disasters and reintroduced animals, such as wolves.
•“Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which assists ranchers who graze livestock on qualifying drought- or fire-affected pasture land.
•“Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP), which compensates producers for disaster losses not covered under other disaster programs.
•“Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for fruit losses, which would make fruit producers who experience losses due to frost or freeze in disaster counties, and did not have access to crop insurance, eligible to purchase 65 percent ‘buy-up’ coverage for losses in 2012.
•“The Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which provides financial assistance to orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.”
Source: Jan. 25 press release from U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Customs intercepts pest new to the United States (May 25, 2016)
Does wounded tree have a chance? (May 25, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 25, 2016)
Mother Nature whips Wilson County crops (May 25, 2016)
Scrapie confirmed in Texas (May 25, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 25, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 25, 2016)
Beef cattle seven-year decline ends (May 18, 2016)
Educational video for water well owners (May 18, 2016)
Free Beef Quality Assurance training set for May 25 (May 18, 2016)
Fretwell wins Region 8 high school all around rookie saddle (May 18, 2016)
Grant to restore, enhance the monarch butterfly habitat (May 18, 2016)
Grass-fed beef conference (May 18, 2016)
Gun safety and barbecue in New Braunfels (May 18, 2016)
La Vernia Poultry Judging wins state, advances to nationals (May 18, 2016)
Lawn, landscape, rainwater program May 21 in Floresville (May 18, 2016)
Lesser prairie chicken off the list (May 18, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 18, 2016)
Luling Foundation Field Day (May 18, 2016)
Protecting your tomatoes (May 18, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 18, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 18, 2016)
As El Niño fades, expect warmer, drier weather says Texas A&M expert (May 11, 2016)
Floresville team wins second at state (May 11, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 11, 2016)
Llamas, load up! (May 11, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 11, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 11, 2016)
Transplanting mountain laurels (May 11, 2016)
2016 La Vernia Junior Livestock & Poultry Show (May 4, 2016)
Beef, forage symposium May 10 (May 4, 2016)
Cattle raisers’ crime watch (May 4, 2016)
Corn acreage increases in Texas (May 4, 2016)
Help controlling the weeds (May 4, 2016)
Krueger leads the way at La Vernia stock show (May 4, 2016)
Land Heritage nomination deadline nears (May 4, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 4, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 4, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 4, 2016)
May 2016 Gardening Calendar (May 1, 2016)