U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) decision to make administrative changes to the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which Thune requested on April 16, that would result in more accurate and timely assistance from LIP for livestock producers. USDA said Thune’s requested LIP changes were made to ensure adequate indemnification is made for livestock losses that occurred in South Dakota and other states as a result of the wet and cold spring, including recent storm Xanto.
“I appreciate the quick turnaround regarding a letter I sent April 16 after winter storm Xanto pounded portions of South Dakota with record snowfall right before birthing season,” said Thune to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in a hearing earlier today. “I received a response from [Farm Production and Conservation] Undersecretary [Bill] Northey informing me that FSA is announcing clarifications to the LIP policy based on my request. I’d like to say now that your timely response and sensitivity to this issue to assist our livestock industry is very much appreciated.”
Specifically, USDA announced that Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees will review LIP applications and determine if an eligible adverse weather event directly caused the death of eligible livestock. As part of that review, FSA will appropriately consider, at Thune’s request, a signed certification statement from a licensed veterinarian ascertaining that the livestock deaths were attributed to a major weather event and not otherwise avoidable or preventable using good animal management protocols and practices.