Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today signed on as an original cosponsor to the Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006 (summary of relief package below):

"I will continue looking for any legislative opportunities to get much-needed relief to South Dakota farmers and ranchers as soon as possible," Thune said. "This proposal includes assistance for both 2005 and 2006 losses, and I am supporting it and working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this proposal or one like it on the president's desk."

The Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006 was offered today by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). In addition to Senator Thune, it was cosponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Blanche Lincoln (D-AK), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Barack Obama (D-IL), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Jim Talent (R-MO).

Summary of Key Components of Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006:

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

  • Emergency funding - no budget offsets

  • Elimination of the 95% cap on projected crop income and deductions for crop insurance and residual crop values.

  • Production loss threshold at 35% and payment rate at 50% of the established price. Similar to prior disaster programs for insured and uninsurable crops. 35% for insurable crops that were not covered by the producer.

  • Clarified quality loss provisions to apply actual market discounts realized by producers. Quality loss payments at 50% of per unit loss times 65% of production.

  • Provides separate disaster assistance programs for sugar beets.

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

  • Provides livestock indemnity payments for livestock losses due to hurricanes, floods, wildfires and anthrax.

  • Provides $13 million for a Ewe Lamb Replacement Program.

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

  • Provides $2 million for bovine tuberculosis herd indemnification.

  • Prohibits "double dipping".

  • Economic and Nutrition Program Assistance
  • Provides $100 million in Section 32 funding for grants to states for food banks and other programs similar to 2000 program with a priority for specialty crops and livestock.

  • Provides a supplemental payment to program crop producers equal to 30% of their 2005 FSRIA direct payment.

  • Provides $147 million for economic assistance for dairy producers.

  • Provides $300 million in economic assistance grants for small businesses who suffered material economic losses as a result of weather related agricultural losses.

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

  • Provides $30 million in funding to address current emergency needs of the Emergency Conservation Program.

  • Farm Service Agency
  • Funds additional personnel for the Farm Service Agency county offices to implement the disaster assistance program.