Recent Press Releases

Thune Statement on Drought Assistance Triggered for South Dakota Counties

“Severe grazing and feed losses due to drought are one of the main reasons why I wrote the Livestock Forage Program.”

June 22, 2017


U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is used to trigger Livestock Forage Program (LFP) disaster assistance, indicated that six South Dakota counties, including Campbell, Dewey, Walworth, Potter, McPherson, and Edmunds, are now categorized as D3 (extreme drought), which will make three months of LFP payments available to eligible grazing livestock producers.

“Severe grazing and feed losses due to drought are one of the main reasons why I wrote the Livestock Forage Program,” said Thune. “Grazing livestock producers who experience extreme drought need timely assistance to help provide additional feed and grazing. I will continue monitoring drought conditions in South Dakota and work with USDA to provide assistance as quickly as possible.”

Thune coauthored the LFP which was first included in the 2008 farm bill and later in the 2014 farm bill. Prior to enactment of Thune’s permanent livestock disaster programs, ranchers had to wait months or even years for Congress to enact ad hoc disaster payments, if any relief was provided at all. Last week, Thune and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that USDA take immediate action to begin taking applications and issue payments as soon as counties become eligible for LFP. 

The senators also requested that emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in eligible counties be advanced to July 15, 2017, and that more than 484,000 acres of land enrolled in CRP considered environmentally sensitive be made eligible for emergency haying and grazing in eligible counties due to the current extreme drought conditions in portions of South Dakota.

LFP payment rates for 2017 are $30 per head, per month for adult buffalo/beefalo and beef cows and bulls, and $7.50 per head, per month for all sheep. Payment rates are prorated according to the size of the livestock. 

Additional information regarding the LFP can be found here.

Livestock producers who are interested in applying for LFP payments should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.