Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC —  Today Senator John Thune joined Tom Buis, President of the National Farmers Union and Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Kent Conrad (D-ND), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Orin Hatch (R-UT), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Jon Tester (D-MT) at a press conference to discuss the need to include a permanent disaster assistance program in the 2007 Farm Bill, which would aid producers during times of natural disasters without relying upon sporadic ad hoc assistance. Senator Thune is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which is responsible for writing the 2007 Farm Bill.

"In states like Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and my home state of South Dakota, we are not always blessed with consistent and abundant rainfall and resulting dependable crop and livestock production. Crop insurance, if it's available, and the Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP) don't adequately cover damages and losses for family farmers when natural disasters occur all too often in our states and in many others," said Thune. "A permanent disaster program should supplement private sector crop insurance and ensure farmers receive timely assistance when disaster strikes."

"Natural disasters are not confined to the Northern Plains and Western United States. This year, for example, the Southeastern United States has suffered severe rainfall shortages we usually experience in the Dakotas, Montana, Utah, and Colorado.

"The need for a permanent disaster assistance program is real. Since the 2002 Farm Bill was signed into law, ad hoc disaster assistance was enacted for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 crop years and disaster assistance is certainly needed for 2007 losses as well. For this year alone, more than 2,200 counties - more than 2/3 of the nation's total number of counties have been declared natural disaster areas.

"A standing permanent disaster program is sorely needed in the 2007 Farm Bill. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the inclusion of a permanent disaster assistance program in the 2007 Farm Bill."