U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for quickly approving a March 27 Thune-led request for USDA to provide timely Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) assistance to agriculture producers and delegate LIP approval authority to Farm Service Agency county committees, which are the most familiar with local weather, disaster events, and livestock management practices of area farmers and ranchers.
“I want to thank Secretary Perdue for recognizing our concern and taking swift action to make it possible for farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and throughout other areas that were adversely affected by damaging weather events to be approved at the local level for this important assistance,” said Thune. “It’s a common-sense policy change that puts these local county committees, which have a far better sense of what’s happening on the ground, in a more effective position to accurately make these determinations.”
Thune’s request, which he made with Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), followed a series of severe weather events in the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes regions that have had devastating livestock losses due to the extreme weather. The senators also urged Perdue to prioritize LIP regulatory updates as USDA implements the 2018 farm bill, revisit and broaden weather-related LIP eligibility criteria, and adhere to the management protocol changes outlined in the 2018 farm bill.