House Passed Agriculture Disaster Assistance

Published online: Mar 23, 2007 AgPress
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WASH, D.C.--The U.S. House of Representatives passed a supplemental appropriations bill that included $3.7 billion for agriculture disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers who experienced losses in 2005-2007. While the agriculture disaster assistance package provides much needed assistance for growers and ranchers, Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson worked closely with House Leadership to create a program that was disciplined and fiscally restrained. Producers can apply for a disaster payment for only one of the three years covered in the proposal, and for the first time, only growers who had insured their crop are eligible for payments. The agriculture disaster assistance package includes assistance for growers who lost 35 percent or more of their crop in one of the covered years and for livestock producers in counties that experienced USDA designated natural disasters during the covered time. The need for agriculture disaster assistance is clear and pressing. Natural disasters including hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, blizzards and other weather-related events caused serious damage to crops and livestock in 2005, 2006 and 2007. More than 80 percent of all U.S. counties have been declared primary or contiguous disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) during the past three years. A coalition of more than 30 farm and allied organizations strongly urged Congress to pass disaster assistance last year and has voiced strong support for the agriculture disaster assistance provisions in the supplemental appropriations bill. The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture web site http://agriculture.house.gov has additional information on this and other subjects.