Veneman Announces $752 Million In Immediate Assistance For Livestock Producers
Sign Up Begins Oct. 1 with Payments Made Soon After
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2002 Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that approximately $752 million is being made available for a new program, the Livestock Compensation Program, for cattle, sheep and buffalo producers in counties that have received primary disaster designation due to drought in 2001 and/or 2002. In addition, producers in counties which have disaster designation requests pending as of today and which are subsequently approved will also be eligible to participate in the program. Sign up will begin Oct. 1 with payments made soon thereafter.
"This program will provide immediate assistance to producers who need it the most," said Veneman. "The Bush Administration continues to use every available tool to provide disaster assistance to Americas farmers and ranchers who have been struck by severe drought conditions. This program will particularly help livestock producers who have very few risk management tools available to help during these difficult times."
Veneman said that the cash assistance will be made available statewide in Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah. Assistance will also be available in specified counties in 30 other drought affected states including California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
The funding for todays program announcement will come from Section 32, a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30 percent of annual customs receipts to support the U.S. agriculture sector. Payments will be based on standard feed consumption data for each eligible type of livestock. The payment rate is $18 per animal consuming unit, which is indexed against beef cattle. Types of livestock adjusted by these factors are:
|Buffalo and Beefalo
Veneman made the announcement during a tele-newsconference with Rep. John Thune of South Dakota, who requested such a program in a Sept. 12 letter to the Secretary. Also joining Veneman were Senators Chuck Hagel (NE) and Craig Thomas (WY) and Congressmen Jerry Moran (KS), Tom Osborne (NE) and Frank Lucas (OK).
The program announced today is in addition to other programs available to eligible producers that to date total $1.3 billion. On Aug. 12, Secretary Veneman authorized a $150 million feed assistance program to help cow-calf operators in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. On Sept. 9, Veneman authorized emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres nationally to provide relief for farmers and ranchers, which is valued at $100 million. USDA has provided some $54 million for the Emergency Conservation Program to help producers rehabilitate farmlands damaged by natural disasters. The Federal Crop Insurance program provides indemnities for production and revenue losses; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters, is expected to provide $250 million. The Emergency Loan Program makes farmers and ranchers immediately eligible for USDA low interest emergency (EM) loans in agricultural disaster areas.
"The Bush Administration continues to provide every available resource within USDAs authority to assist Americas farm sector with drought assistance programs," said Veneman. "This decision will provide livestock producers, who are the most in need of assistance, with immediate relief."
KLA Compliments Bush Administration On Timely Drought Assistance
(TOPEKA, Kan.) The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) has commended the Bush Administration and Kansas congressional delegation for making $752 million in drought assistance available to livestock producers in 37 states. According to KLA Stockgrowers Council Chairman Bill Sproul, a McLouth beef producer, the Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) will make aid available in a more timely fashion than a congressional appropriation.
"This won't totally offset added costs faced by livestock producers experiencing drought, but it's a step in the right direction," said Sproul.
The KLA Board of Directors has identified drought assistance as a priority. In addition to direct assistance, such as LCP, county directors serving on the KLA board have called for an immediate suspension of the 25% rental payment penalty imposed on those who hay or graze Conservation Reserve Program acres. Sproul said KLA members will be supplied more specific information on LCP eligibility and application requirements prior to October 1.
|Administration Comes to the Aid of Drought-Afflicted Ranchers
Washington, D.C. Iowa beef producer and National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) President Wythe Willey said Thursdays action by the Bush Administration is a step towards providing much-needed relief to livestock producers struggling after years of drought. "We have supported legislative fixes to this problem, but the President saw that the time to act was now, and we appreciate the Administrations action on this matter," said Willey. "Its not a long-range forecast for rain, but it is the next best thing."
Comparable to dust-bowl era conditions, the nations drought has cattle ranchers wondering whether to sell their herds or wait for rain. "In most of California, were in our third year of drought," reports Rob Frost, California Producer, and President of the California Cattlemens Association. "We are struggling with the lowest rainfall reported in the past 150 years, and our big problem is that it is going to take 2-3 years for the range to recover even after the rains normalize, so we sure need the help."
"Certain areas of South Dakota are just totally devastated," says Merrill Karlen, South Dakota Producer, and President of the South Dakota Cattlemens Association. "Many dont know where theyre going to find the grass and hay to feed their cattle this winter." This funding announced today will help producers provide winter feed.
"It is kind of refreshing to have such support on this issue and have everyone working together, but you know, were all Americans and were all farmers," says Frost.