Friday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide additional assistance to help farmers, ranchers and residents affected by severe drought thanks to livestock disaster programs reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. On the heels of a request made by Sen. Moran and a bipartisan group of senators to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA will expedite implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster assistance programs and plans to have the programs available for sign up by April 15, 2014.
“I am pleased Secretary Vilsack responded to our appeals for assistance so quickly and will now expedite implementation of the livestock disaster programs reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill,” Sen. Moran said. “During a time when producers are still grappling with the devastating effects of drought, the passage of the Farm Bill made certain long-awaited disaster assistance will continue to be available for producers in need. These programs will aid farmers and ranchers in the affected counties, and enable agricultural operations to continue across our state.”
In a letter to Sec. Vilsack on Feb. 5, 2014, Sen. Moran, along with Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and a bipartisan group of senators, wrote: “In 2012, U.S. grazing livestock producers experienced the most devastating loss of pasture, rangeland and forage in decades due to the widespread drought, which resulted in more than 80 percent of all U.S. counties determined as ‘abnormally’ to ‘exceptionally’ dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor. By August 2012, you had designated more than 1,400 counties in 33 states as disaster counties due to drought…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.”
As USDA begins implementing disaster assistance programs, producers should record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:
- Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
- Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
- Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures;
- Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed;
- Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records;
- Pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters; and
- Evidence of damaged farm land.
For more information about today’s announcements, visit the USDA drought resource page at www.usda.gov/drought.
–Press release via Garrette M.K. Silverman, Communications Director at the Russell Senate Office Building