Sen. Thune requests assistance for ranchers

Office of Senator John Thune
Farm Forum

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D) sent a letter on April 16 to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting administrative changes to the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) that would result in more acceptable and timely assistance from LIP. Thune’s requested LIP changes are needed to ensure adequate indemnification for livestock losses that have occurred and will continue to occur in South Dakota and other states as a result of the wet, cold spring, including recent winter storm Xanto.

“Mr. Secretary, I am very concerned that the livestock producers who have been tirelessly fighting mud, snow, ice, and wind during this critical birthing season are not only facing higher-than-normal death losses, but also prices in the market that are below production costs,” said Thune. “Without adequate and timely assistance that LIP can provide, current death losses may drive many livestock producers out of business, a scenario USDA can help prevent.”

Thune’s letter requests that Farm Service Agency (FSA):

• Allow a certification or statement from a licensed veterinarian that livestock death losses are due to a weather-related cause.

• Authorize FSA to give final LIP approval authority to FSA State Committees, after applications have been approved by the FSA County Committee.

In June 2017, Thune introduced legislation that would codify these requests in law. Thune’s legislation would also get Livestock Forage Program assistance to farmers and ranchers twice as fast and make a technical correction to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 that would give permittees greater flexibility when grazing on National Forest Grasslands.