Home 5 Ag Stories Lawmakers seek to change livestock disaster aid

Lawmakers seek to change livestock disaster aid

Photo courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Two bills introduced in Congress seek to make changes to livestock programs, specifically changing the way help is administered to ranchers during a disaster.

The legislation includes four bills to make changes to the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Conservation Program.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) introduced legislation in the Senate and Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Kans.) introduced the legislation in the House. Moran says two of the bills address payment limits.

“Two provisions deal with payment limitations, which is a difficult issue in Washington D.C. and usually fits those of us from Ag country,” Moran said. “I think we ought to be able to have a conversation about whether payment limits ought to be different in the case of a disaster than they are in the case of ongoing farm bill payments to a producer.”

The other two bills address how the program is administered, for items and tasks such as fencing repairs and selling livestock.

“Fencing is usually reimbursed at about a 75% rate, but it requires you to present a paid bill and then seek reimbursement from the USDA. A better solution would be to present the cost of replacing the fence and have the money provided upfront,” Moran said.

“From the Livestock Indemnity Program, cattlemen who sold cattle that were damaged by the fires couldn’t get full market price for the cattle because of the damage. And, they’re not eligible for a livestock indemnity payment. When you euthanize your cattle, you are. We’re trying to make certain that the gap between what you sell your cattle for, at a lower price, ad what the fair market value is are recognized and compensated,” Moran said.

The two lawmakers say the bills were crafted and introduced based on feedback following wildfires in southwest Kansas earlier this year, the Anderson Creek fire and many other recent natural disasters.