Rep. Kristi Noem, R., S.D., introduced legislation April 17 to provide a safety net for livestock owners. The Livestock Disaster Protection Act would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for five years, as well as retroactive coverage for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
She introduced the legislation in 2012 and provisions were included in the farm bill discussions in 2012 although did not become law. Noem said she will work with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R., Okla., to include these provisions in the new farm bill, which is expected to be drafted in the coming weeks. She specifically included language to ensure these programs were extended for the life of the farm bill which will avoid a repeat of the current situation, in which eligibility for LIP, LFP, and ELAP expired in 2011 before the rest of the farm bill expired. The bill also makes the programs a more integral fixture by ensuring they are given a budget baseline.
Similarly Sens. Mark Udall, D., Colo., and Mike Enzi, R., Wyo., urged the Senate Agriculture Committee to ensure that permanent livestock disaster assistance is included in the 2013 Farm Bill.
Udall and Enzi argued in their bipartisan letter that a robust livestock insurance program will give ranchers and cattle operators the assurance they need to continue to boost local economies and feed the nation.
"Drought cripples the agricultural sector and reverberates through the national economy in the form of higher food prices, broken farms and unemployed Americans," the senators wrote in the letter. "Permanent baseline funding for livestock disaster assistance programs will provide our ranchers and farmers the confidence they need to make business decisions that will enhance stability throughout the agricultural sector and help boost our economy. We know you are dedicated to the same goal and stand ready to support your efforts on behalf of America's cattle operators as you draft the 2013 Farm Bill."