Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today announced the introduction of the Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007, legislation that would provide drought relief to farmers and ranchers for losses sustained in both the 2005 and 2006 production years. Senator Thune is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation.

"Just because temperatures are dropping below freezing in regions across the country, we can't forget about the tremendous losses that farmers and ranchers have experienced," Thune said. "The harvest season may have come to a close, but South Dakota farmers and ranchers are far from recovering from the crippling effects of a multi-year drought. I hope my colleagues in the Senate will join me in swiftly passing this much-needed relief package to protect the livelihood of rural America."

Key components of the Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007:

    Production Loss Subtitle
  • Covers both the 2005 and 2006 production years.

  • Emergency funding for crop, livestock and dairy production loss programs.

  • Prohibits "double dipping".

  • Similar to prior disaster programs for insured and uninsurable crops.

  • Production loss threshold at 35% and payment rate at 45% of the established or NAP price for insured crops or those participating in the Non-insured Assistance Program
    (NAP). 20% payment rate for crops that were not insured or enrolled in NAP.

  • Clarifies quality loss provisions to apply actual market discounts realized by producers. Quality loss payments at 45% of per unit loss multiplied by 65% of production.

  • Provides separate disaster assistance programs for sugar beets and Hawaii sugar cane.

  • Establishes a Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) to help cover increased feed expenses for producers in disaster counties designated by the Secretary of Agriculture.

  • Provides livestock indemnity payments (LIP) for livestock losses due to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, extreme heat and anthrax.

  • Includes LCP and LIP for the late December blizzard in the Great Plains.

  • Includes flooded lands assistance program for the Devils Lake region.

  • Provides a Ewe Lamb Replacement program for sheep producers in disaster counties.

    Small Business Economic Grant Program
  • Provides $100 million in economic assistance grants for small businesses who suffered material economic losses as a result of weather related agricultural losses.


  • Provides $70 million for current emergency needs for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

  • Provides $37 million in funding to address current emergency needs of the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).

  • Provides $75 million in additional funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).