Tester Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Livestock Disaster Programs
Senator: “This bipartisan bill will beef up critical livestock disaster programs, providing additional certainty so Montana ranchers can better weather disasters and emerge whole on the other side.”
Amid disastrous drought and a catastrophic wildfire season, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) this month introduced their bipartisan Livestock Disaster Relief Act to ensure that Montana's ranchers receive the necessary relief to recover from future disasters.
"We are experiencing a devastating drought that has touched every corner of Montana and put a real hurt on livestock producers in our state," said Tester. "This bipartisan bill will beef up critical livestock disaster programs, providing additional certainty so Montana ranchers can better weather disasters and emerge whole on the other side."
Tester's legislation will permanently increase assistance and better align coverage for ranchers under the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP). Specifically it will:
Make changes to the Livestock Forage Program:
- Increasing coverage for monthly feed costs to 80 percent.
- Including unweaned cattle in eligible livestock.
- Increasing number of months a producer can receive payments.
- Improving the formula used to calculate monthly feed costs.
Make changes to the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program:
- Specifying drought as a covered adverse weather event.
- Removing restrictions on types of covered losses and disasters.
- Specifying transportation costs for feed and water as a covered loss.
Tester's legislation was introduced as a result of Montana facing severe drought across the state and experiencing one of its most harmful wildfire seasons in the past decade, resulting in decreased feeding capabilities for Montana's livestock producers.
As the only working farmer in the United States Senate, Tester has been a fierce advocate for Montana's farmers and ranchers and recently secured USDA relief for Montana producers through the authorization of haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, LFP funding, and ELAP funding.