Senators push for implementation of livestock insurance programs

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) joined a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday who called on the Obama administration to expedite implementation of livestock insurance programs reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill.

Blunt, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies, and the other senators made their request in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“In 2012, U.S. grazing livestock producers experienced the most devastating loss of pasture, rangeland and forage in decades due to the widespread drought,” the senators said. “Due to the magnitude of pasture, forage and livestock losses and the urgent need for financial assistance these losses have created, we strongly urge you to place implementation of 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster programs as a top priority.”

The Senate approved the five-year, $500 billion farm bill on Wednesday and forwarded it President Obama to review and sign.

“In October 2013, winter storm Atlas, an unexpected early fall blizzard, killed more than 20,000 cattle, sheep, horses and bison in the Dakotas and Nebraska, leaving many livestock producers with less than 50 percent of their livestock herds surviving,” the senators said. “The 2014 Farm Bill’s Livestock Indemnity Program is the only economic assistance available to most of these livestock producers, who, without it, will be unable to adequately rebuild their herds and sustain their ranching operations.

The senators requested a timetable for implementation of the reauthorized LIP and Livestock Forage Disaster Program by Feb. 14.