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US senators want livestock disaster assistance extended

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Three US senators have unveiled new farm legislation that will help pork producers by permanently extending livestock disaster assistance.

The ‘Revenue Loss Assistance and Crop Insurance Enhancement Act of 2012’ serves as a major component of the new farm bill. The legislation, unveiled by Democrat senators Kent Conrad and Max Baucus, and by Republican senator John Hoeven, is described as ‘bipartisan legislation that reduces farm programme complexity and duplication’.

The bill also includes the strengthening of the federal crop insurance programme.

Volatile markets
Senator Max Baucus (Montana) commented, “I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year traveling around Montana and talking to producers about what’s important to them – things like the Livestock Disaster Assistance programme we created in 2008 and a fair plan to chip in on deficit reduction while still making sure our farmers and ranchers are protected from volatile markets and weather.”

Baucus continued, “This bill is written with the direct input of the farmers and ranchers out there getting dirt under their nails every day to keep food on our tables, and I look forward to working with our colleagues to roll these priorities into a larger Farm Bill we can all be proud to support.”

Revenue Loss Assistance Program
The legislation creates the Revenue Loss Assistance Program (RLAP), an initiative that combines Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance (SURE) and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) into one simpler and more effective programme. RLAP works in conjunction with crop insurance to provide farmers with assistance for losses between 12 and 25% of their average historic revenue. An eligible loss can be due to any combination of decreased yields, declining prices or quality discounts. RLAP is based on individual farm performance, rather than an area trigger, and assistance is provided on a commodity specific basis.

The legislation permanently extends the three livestock disaster programmes and the Tree Assistance Program authorised in the 2008 Farm Bill.

by Vincent ter Beek

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