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Rep. Jo Ann Emerson Introduces Emergency Livestock Relief Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) today introduced legislation to renew three agricultural relief programs which expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2011 and expand eligibility on an emergency basis.  Combined, the three programs address grazing losses and livestock deaths due to drought, as well as losses to producers not covered by any other disaster program.  Emerson’s bill would waive the Risk Management Purchase Requirement for access to these programs.

“This drought has hurt families and businesses in Missouri and across the country.  The very least we can do is to renew the programs that have rescued farms and ranches under these circumstances in the past.  I want the producers in Southern Missouri, especially the livestock producers, to know that the emergency relief they need will be available to them in their hour of need.  Re-authorizing these expired programs is a key to being prepared for further disaster assistance, which is assuredly necessary,” Emerson said.

Emerson’s bill specifically restores the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program and the ELAP emergency assistance program.

“It is necessary to waive the Risk Management Purchase Requirement for these programs because the drought is so extreme and all producers are going to need access to these programs.  The drought conditions are devastating, and no one can say when or where we will draw the line to get the necessary assistance to the livestock operations which are on the cusp of huge losses,” Emerson said.  “For anyone looking for the most important, most basic way to help livestock producers deal with these conditions, this bill is the most commonsense way in which we can prepare to provide much-needed federal assistance. Everything has to be on the table.”

Emerson maintains that the three programs in her bill are essential to a comprehensive approach to any disaster assistance response.

“If we don’t renew these programs,” Emerson said, “many livestock businesses are going to be left out of the disaster assistance meant for them.  We can’t allow that to happen.  This drought demands a complete response to protect a vital component of the American food supply and the economy.”