Hoeven Addresses I-BAND Annual Meeting

Senator Working to Establish Cattle Contract Library, Improve Rancher Access to Competitive Markets & Strengthen Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today addressed the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota’s (I-BAND) annual meeting, where he discussed his efforts as the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to:

  • Improve ranchers’ access to fair and competitive markets. 
    • This includes working to establish at the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) a cattle contract library, which would help improve price transparency in cattle markets.
  • Strengthen livestock disaster assistance programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP).
    • Earlier this year, Hoeven hosted Senator John Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in North Dakota for a discussion with local producers and commodity groups, giving them the opportunity to provide direct input as work begins on the next farm bill.
  • Establish the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP), which is funded from the disaster assistance that Hoeven secured last September to aid livestock producers.

“Making cattle markets more competitive is a win-win for our nation, as it means ranchers can get a better price for the high-quality beef they produce and consumers have more choice,” said Hoeven. “That’s exactly what we’re working to accomplish, both through the cattle contract library we’ve funded at AMS and the bills we’re advancing to better enforce the law and give ranchers more options when marketing their products. This comes in addition to our efforts to ensure North Dakota’s ranchers have a say in crafting the next farm bill, as we work to improve the tools producers rely on to weather hard times and recover from disaster.”  

Access to Fair & Competitive Markets 

In addition to advancing the cattle contract library, Hoeven worked to provide an additional $2 million in fiscal year (FY) 2022 for AMS to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act and has helped introduce legislation to:

  • Establish a new office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate, prosecute and bring civil or administrative actions for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Expand ranchers’ ability to provide more locally-produced meat to consumers by utilizing custom slaughterhouses.

Livestock Disaster Assistance

Further, Hoeven is working to ensure livestock disaster assistance programs effectively help ranchers to recover from losses due to natural disasters. After hearing producers’ concerns at a roundtable discussion he held earlier this year, Hoeven began working with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to update LIP national payment rates to reflect actual market rates.

 The senator raised the issue to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, pressing them to adjust the program’s rates and ensure it adequately covers losses due to eligible diseases. As a result, FSA updated LIP payment rates for calves weighing less than 250 pounds, which are now valued the same as non-adult cattle weighing between 250 and 399 pounds and increased payment rates for calves under 400 pounds.

Hoeven also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Jon Tester last year to better align coverage between LFP and ELAP. The bill would permanently increase producer assistance under LFP to more accurately compensate them for feed costs, while specifying that transportation costs for feed and water are covered losses under ELAP.