June 26, 2023
Legislation introduced last week by Sens. John Hoeven, R- N.D., and Jon Tester, D- Mont., would modify USDA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program and its Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program. Commonly known as LFP and ELAP, the two programs provide financial assistance for producers in the wake of natural disasters. Hoeven and Tester contend the changes they are proposing in the Livestock Disaster Relief Act would improve the current system.
“Our legislation makes common-sense improvements to the Livestock Forage and Emergency Assistance for Livestock Programs to help better meet the needs of our livestock producers when disaster strikes,” Hoeven says.
Under their proposal, coverage between LFP and ELAP would be better aligned. It would increase producer assistance in a manner they say more accurately compensates producers for feed costs. The bill specifies transportation costs for feed, water and livestock losses covered under ELAP. These changes would be permanent.
The bill would also expand ELAP coverage to reimburse those affected by severe drought. Eligible producers would receive 60% of their feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred during a normal year. It would also provide additional flexibly to farmers using cover crops.
“As a third-generation farmer, I know firsthand how challenging it can be for Montanans when disasters like drought or winter storms strike,” Tester says. “That’s why I’m proud to team up with Senator Hoeven on this bipartisan bill to ensure that Montana ranchers receive the relief they need to respond to future disasters so that they can continue to raise the best cattle in the world.”
Both senators hope to make their legislation part of the upcoming farm bill. Talks on that massive piece of legislation continue as congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a new bill.
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