Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Help Farmers & Ranchers Recover From Drought

Senator Discusses $10 Billion in Ag Disaster Assistance at ND Farmers Union Annual Convention

BISMARCK, N.D. – At the North Dakota Farmers Union annual convention today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to help farmers and ranchers weather the severe drought conditions impacting the Upper Midwest. This includes his continued work to ensure the Farm Service Agency (FSA) distributes the $10 billion in disaster assistance, including $750 million specifically for livestock producers, as soon as possible and in a way that works for farmers and ranchers. To this end, Hoeven spoke with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack last month and pressed him to provide producers with information on the Department’s plan and timeline for funding distribution. As the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to secure the disaster aid as part of the continuing resolution passed in September and included the funding set-aside specifically for ranchers.

“Between drought and rising input costs from inflation, our farmers and ranchers are facing real challenges this year,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve been working to help provide our producers with the tools and disaster assistance needed to keep their operations going and recover from these difficult times. This includes the $10 billion in agriculture disaster assistance we worked to secure in September, as well as providing flexibilities under ELAP, crop insurance and cover crops to help ensure farmers and ranchers can cover their costs and make the best possible choices for their land and livestock.”

Specifically, the $10 billion in disaster assistance includes:

  • $9.25 billion in disaster assistance to aid producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters. The funding will extend WHIP+ to cover losses in calendar years 2020 and 2021. 
  • $750 million for livestock producers for losses incurred during 2021 due to drought or wildfire. This disaster assistance will build on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers. 

In addition to this $10 billion in disaster funding, the Senator has worked to provide producers with tools and support during the drought, including: 

  • The 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 earlier this year during his 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.