United States Department of Agriculture

Walsh cosponsors bill to ‘beef up’ livestock industry

(The following is a press release from the office of Senator John Walsh) Montana ranchers applaud Senator’s leadership to improve resources for cattle ranching families

(US SENATE)—Senator John Walsh last week cosponsored legislation that improves and updates Agriculture Department resources for Montana ranchers.

The American Livestock Protection and Ranching Opportunity Act establishes a Livestock Disease Initiative and authorizes $5 million annually to study bovine brucellosis and other livestock diseases.  Walsh’s bill also prohibits the import of foreign beef until the USDA certifies the exporting country is totally free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

“Montana ranchers produce the highest quality beef in the world,” Walsh said.  “This bill protects local ranchers by investing in brucellosis prevention and emphasizing country of origin labeling.  We value our agriculture producers, they are stewards to the land in our great state, and our public policy should reflect that.”

Montana ranchers applaud Walsh’s leadership on this bill:

“We applaud Senator Walsh’s work to address some major issues our members face on a daily basis,” said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “We look forward to working with Senator Walsh and take on brucellosis and increase disaster support for Montana’s ranchers.” 

“Montana Farmers Union appreciates Senator Walsh’s sponsorship of a bill that addresses the concerns and contributions of Montana’s livestock producers,” said Montana Farmers Union President Alan Merrill.  “We value the Senator’s multi-pronged approach that supports livestock disease research, protects Montana markets by maintaining our foot and mouth disease-free status, and provides a mechanism to make adjustments to the Livestock Forage Program.  In addition, MFU members have long supported country-of-original labeling (COOL) and welcome the Senator Walsh’s strong statement of support.” 

“The most probable result will be that a FMD epidemic will crash the rural economy and seriously jeopardize this country’s economic recovery,” said Gilles Stockton, board member of Montana Cattlemen’s Association. “The proposition that we would import meat from counties with active FMD is just crazy. I commend Senator Walsh for being proactive on this issue and I hope his colleagues see reason and support this bill.”

The legislation also assists ranchers with feed costs in the Greater Yellowstone Area when they are under government-mandated quarantines for brucellosis, requires USDA to use most recent and accurate market prices in the Livestock Indemnity Program, and provides price adjustments in the Livestock Forage Program for high-value feed to help ranchers through drought situations.

Walsh is the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation on an Agriculture Committee.

United States Department of Agriculture

Tester to Montana ranchers: Today is first day to sign up for disaster assistance

Senator spreads the word about recently reauthorized livestock disaster initiatives in Farm Bill

(The following is a press release from Sen. Tester’s office) – Senator Jon Tester wants Montana ranchers to know that today is the first day to sign up for support under the recently reauthorized livestock disaster assistance initiatives in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The five-year Farm Bill passed earlier this year with Tester’s support.  It reauthorizes three livestock disaster assistance programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), that expired in 2011.  These programs support ranchers who suffered losses in recent years, including 2012’s nationwide drought.

The newly reauthorized programs are retroactive to October 1, 2011.  Montanans should contact their local FSA offices for more information about applying.

Tester, a dry-land farmer from Big Sandy, successfully got USDA to quickly implement the initiatives so ranchers in Montana and across the country could get the assistance they need.

“Today is the first day for Montana ranchers affected by recent disasters to apply for needed assistance,” Tester said.  “I encourage all ranchers to utilize all available resources so we can keep our state’s number one industry strong.”

Tester pushed the President for quick implementation of these provisions because it took more than a year for LIP and LFP to begin after the last Farm Bill became law in 2008.

The Farm Bill includes numerous other Tester priorities, including extending Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) through 2014, support for beginning farmers and ranchers and savings of $23 billion.

More information about the Livestock Indemnity Program is available HERE, about the Livestock Forage Disaster Program HERE and about the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised First Program HERE.

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Senate gets President to implement quick livestock disaster assistance

(The following is a press release from Sen. Tester) – Senator Jon Tester today secured a victory for Montana ranchers when he successfully got the President to quickly implement the livestock disaster assistance programs included in the recently passed Farm Bill.

After the five-year Farm Bill became law earlier this month, Tester called on the President to move forward with the initiatives so ranchers in Montana and across the country could get the assistance they need. 

The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program – two initiatives that expired in 2011 and are needed by ranchers who suffered losses during the nationwide drought in 2012 and South Dakota’s blizzard in October 2013.

“Getting livestock disaster assistance up and running will let more Montana ranchers get the support they need,” Tester said.  “I appreciate the President making this assistance a priority and will keep supporting Montana’s hard-working producers.”

Tester pushed the President for the quick implementation of the Farm Bill because it took more than a year for the two assistance programs to begin after the last Farm Bill became law in 2008.  The newly reauthorized programs will be retroactive to October 1, 2011.

The Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program will support ranchers affected by the 2012 drought that led to disaster declarations in 33 states and ranchers hurt by the devastating blizzard in South Dakota that reduced many herds by more than 50 percent.

Ranchers can apply for assistance starting on April 15.

The Farm Bill includes numerous other Tester priorities, including extending Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) through 2014, support for beginning farmers and ranchers and savings of $23 billion.

Tester’s letter to the President, which was signed by 23 other Senators, is available online HERE

(For more coverage, see these stories from Feedstuffs and AgriPulse.)

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