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Thune Announces Agriculture Disaster Payments

South Dakota Crop and Livestock Producers Scheduled to Receive Disaster Payments Today

December 19, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Today Senator John Thune announced that Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin issuing ad hoc disaster payments to crop and livestock producers who suffered eligible losses in 2005, 2006, and through February 28, 2007. The disaster payments FSA is issuing today were authorized for the Crop Disaster Program (CDP), the Livestock Compensation Program (LCP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) as a result of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on May 25th of this year.

"This is a bittersweet announcement," said Thune. "I don't know of a single farmer or rancher who doesn't appreciate these disaster payments, especially just before Christmas. However, I'm certain those who suffered crop and livestock losses in 2005 and 2006 would have appreciated these payments even more so if they'd been issued prior to Christmas 2005 or 2006."
  • Signup for the three disaster programs began earlier this fall. LCP and LIP signup began September 10, and CDP signup began October 15.

  • All South Dakota counties were named as eligible disaster areas in 2005 and 2006.

  • Producers must choose one of the years 2005 or 2006, or 2007 (2007 losses from January 1 through February 28, 2007, only).

  • An ending date for disaster program signup has not been announced by FSA.

  • To date, approximate South Dakota application data for all years (2005, 2006, partial-2007) are:
  • LIP - 160 applications - $500,000

  • LCP - 3,600 applications - $7.4 million

  • CDP - 56,000 applications - $107 million

  • Producers can apply for disaster payments for all eligible years; however, assistance is only given for losses in the year the payments total the highest amount.

    "The current disaster program is an example of everything that is wrong with ad hoc disaster programs," said Thune. "Payments are issued as late as two years after a loss occurs, and even though losses span multiple years, producers get disaster assistance for only one year of losses. This is why I've fought so hard, as a Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to ensure we have a permanent disaster program in the Senate's Farm Bill - which we do."

    Earlier this year, Senator Thune's bill, S. 1716, was signed into law. This critical bill eliminated a provision in the disaster program that required participation in the Noninsured Assistance Program or pilot crop insurance program in 2005 or 2006. Without Senator Thune's bill, 85 percent of South Dakota's livestock producers would have been ineligible for LCP payments.

    Thune also spearheaded an effort in November by gathering 24 Senators' signatures on a letter to Acting USDA Secretary Conner requesting another LCP policy change. Acting Secretary Conner called Senator Thune three days after receiving the letter and announced USDA would accept Senator Thune's suggested policy change by allowing livestock producers with operations in multiple counties to be eligible for LCP assistance.

    Senator Thune also successfully worked to include an extension of the current disaster program to cover crop and livestock losses that occur from March 1 through December 31, 2007. The Omnibus Appropriations bill expected to be signed into law will extend the disaster eligibility period Thune fought for through the end of 2007. Once the Omnibus bill is signed into law, the extended eligibility will allow producers both in southwest South Dakota who experienced drought losses, and in northeast South Dakota who lost crops and livestock earlier this year due to excessive rain, flooding, and heat an opportunity to receive assistance for their losses.