Recent Press Releases

Thune Calls for Agriculture Disaster Relief

Joins Bipartisan Senators in Petition Effort

December 6, 2005

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today released a letter addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations that requests an agriculture disaster relief package for the 2005 crop year.

"This proved to be a tough year for some South Dakota farmers," Thune said. "Farmers here and across the nation suffered crop losses due to spring floods, summer drought and numerous problems associated with hurricane damage, especially high transportation costs. This proved to be one the most expensive crops to get to market in recent history."

The letter calls for action this year before Congress adjourns.

Senator Thune signed the letter along with Senators Lincoln (D-AR), Talent (R-MO), Pryor (D-AR), Salazar (D-CO), Bond (R-MO), Coleman (R-MN), Conrad (D-ND), Hagel (R-NE), and Landrieu (D-LA).

The text of the letter is below.

November 28, 2005

The Honorable Thad Cochran      The Honorable Robert Byrd
Chairman                                  Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations      Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate                  United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510             Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Byrd:

We write to request assistance for an agriculture disaster relief package for
the 2005 crop year. It is imperative that we address the financial crisis that rural
and agricultural economies are currently facing.

This year producers across the country have been severely impacted by a
number of devastating factors beyond their control. From the drought that hit the
Midwest and Mid-South growing region this summer to the flooding that delayed
planting of crops to the effects of the hurricanes this fall, producers across the
country are in the midst of one of the most expensive crops in recent memory.

Additionally, farmers are bearing the brunt of the transportation disruptions
caused by the hurricanes along the Mississippi River system. The hurricane
damage immediately delayed barge traffic and reduced the amount of adequate onfarm
and commercial storage space. Additionally, increased transportation costs
created a widening basis of grain prices for the producers. Farmers and ranchers
across the country are in need of an immediate emergency relief package.

We appreciate your consideration of an agriculture disaster relief package.
We respectfully ask that you work to include this in the next supplemental
appropriations bill or other legislation that is considered before the Senate
adjourns for the year.

Again, this assistance will be critical to the survival of many agriculture
producers as they begin to assess their financial condition and analyze their
financing options for the next crop year. Without some supplemental assistance, a
number of producers will not be able to pay off production loans and secure the
necessary financing for next year's crop production. Thank you for your
consideration of our request.

Blanche L. Lincoln, Jim Talent, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar, Kit Bond, Norm Coleman, Kent Conrad, Chuck Hagel, Mary L. Landrieu, John Thune