Hoeven: USDA to Begin Sending Out Livestock Disaster Assistance by March

Senator Secured $750 Million in Disaster Assistance Specifically for Livestock Producers, Pressed USDA to Send Payments ASAP

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to begin providing phase one of livestock disaster assistance payments by March. Hoeven worked to secure the $750 million in aid for livestock producers in September, and since then, has repeatedly pressed USDA officials, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary Robert Bonnie and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, to provide the assistance as soon as possible and in a way that works for ranchers.

According to USDA, phase one will:

  • Use existing Livestock Forage Program (LFP) data.
  • Require no or minimal additional paperwork from producers.
  • Distribute at least half of the $750 million by the end of March.  

“Our livestock producers have been hit by drought and other natural disasters over the last year, which has really taken a toll on their operations,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we worked to set-aside $750 million in disaster assistance specifically to help our ranchers weather the challenges of 2021. We’ve been pressing USDA to get these funds out as soon as possible, and USDA now expects this aid to begin flowing to producers by March. This is good news and we’ll continue working to ensure the assistance is provided as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Hoeven worked to secure the $750 million for livestock producers as part of $10 billion in disaster aid, with an additional $9.25 billion in disaster funding to extend WHIP+ to aid producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021. USDA announced it will provide that assistance in a two-phase approach as well, beginning this spring.

In addition to the 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 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.