Disaster Programs Reauthorized by Bennet-Backed Farm Bill
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is reminding Colorado’s farmers and ranchers that beginning next Tuesday, April 15, they can sign up for livestock disaster assistance. Livestock disaster programs are a key part of the recently-passed Farm Bill to help ranchers incurring losses due to severe weather.
“Despite an above-average snowpack this year, parts of Colorado continue to endure relentless drought conditions that haven’t been seen since the Dust Bowl,” Bennet said. “These disaster programs are critical to our ranchers, who are suffering unprecedented losses due to the severe weather. Eligible producers should sign up for assistance to help them through these tough times and aid them in planning for the future.”
Bennet helped include the livestock disaster programs in the Farm Bill as a member of the conference committee that negotiated the final bill. Immediately following passage of the bill, he joined a bipartisan group of senators to urge the USDA to quickly implement the Farm Bill’s livestock disaster programs. Following the 2008 Farm Bill, those programs took over a year to roll out. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the senators wrote, “Due to the magnitude of pasture, forage, and livestock losses and the urgent need for financial assistance these losses have created, we strongly urge you to place implementation of 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster programs as a top priority. Considering the similarities of the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bill LIP and LFP, it is our expectation and request that USDA implement these programs within a much shorter timeframe than it did after passage of the 2008 Farm Bill.”
In addition to losses experienced in 2014, producers will also be able to sign up for assistance to help with losses from 2012 and 2013. Livestock disaster programs from the 2008 Farm Bill expired in September 2011.