Hoeven, ND Stockmen's Ellingson Outline Impact of Drought on ND Producers at Senate Hearing

Senator Outlines Importance of Advancing ND Water Projects, Providing More Flexibility for Grazing

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week, Senator John Hoeven brought Julie Ellingson, Executive Vice President of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, to testify about the impacts of drought on North Dakota’s livestock and agriculture industries.

“This year has been uniquely challenging for producers in North Dakota, who have had to battle large grassland fires, unpredictable markets, and of course severe drought,” said Hoeven. “Our farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world, and good farm and ranch policy benefits every American, every day. With that in mind, as the Committee considers policies to address drought and increase landscape resilience, we need to ensure that producers are at the forefront of our efforts.”

During the hearing, Hoeven outlined the importance of:

  • Providing flexibility for grazing on public lands during drought when ranchers need additional sources of forage.
  • Advancing water supply projects in North Dakota, including the Eastern North Dakota Alternate Water Supply Project (ENDAWS) to ensure a reliable and secure water supply for agriculture and other water users. Hoeven pressed Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo to support the water projects.

To date, Hoeven has secured the following to help producers impacted by drought: 

  • $10 billion in disaster assistance funding, with $750 million specifically for livestock producers, to aid producers with losses due to drought and other natural disasters.
  • Permanent expansion of the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to provide producers impacted by severe drought with 60% reimbursement of their feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year.
  • Emergency procedures and new flexibilities from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for crop insurance providers to help ensure quick and fair adjustments and payments to producers.
    • Hoeven pressed for this flexibility during his recent drought tour with RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy, and it comes as part of the senator’s efforts to help producers weather severe drought conditions in North Dakota. 
  • Providing flexibility to farmers when utilizing cover crops, which provide an additional source of feed for livestock producers.
    • Following Acting Administrator Flournoy’s visit to North Dakota, RMA announced it will allow producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops on prevented plant acres at any time while still receiving their full crop insurance indemnity.