Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for payments from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP). This program is one of five permanent disaster relief programs Senator Thune helped establish as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

"South Dakota farmers and ranchers need a sound safety net when disaster strikes," said Thune. "The inclusion of permanent disaster relief programs in the 2008 Farm Bill was a major victory for producers in South Dakota, and I am proud to have been a part of creating these programs. Disasters like the grasshopper infestation that hit South Dakota this year can cause tremendous damage, but these programs exist to help when it is needed most."

A grasshopper infestation in several South Dakota counties has created a shortage of livestock forage. ELAP provides assistance to eligible producers that have losses due to conditions not covered under other disaster programs, such as the Livestock Forage Program, which covers grazing loses due only to drought or fire. ELAP will provide up to $50 million in assistance to eligible producers on an annual basis.

Producers can learn more about ELAP by visiting, or by contacting their local Farm Service Agency office. Assistance is only available for documented losses occurring after January 1, 2008 and before October 1, 2011.