“This provision just provides an added layer of protection. It will help ranchers recover from circumstances that are unavoidable, even with best practices in place.”
— Mike Saccone, communications director for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., about a livestock insurance program Udall is fighting to add to the 2013 Farm Bill
Craig This week, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., urged the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee to include a permanent livestock insurance program in the 2013 Farm Bill.
In a letter to committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Udall said ranchers need a safety net considering ongoing drought conditions across much of the Rocky Mountain west.
Udall was joined by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., in drafting the letter.
“Drought cripples the agricultural sector and reverberates through the national economy in the form of higher food prices, broken farms and unemployed Americans,” the letter states. “Permanent baseline funding for livestock disaster assistance programs will provide our ranchers and farmers the confidence they need to make business decisions that will enhance stability throughout the agricultural sector and help boost our economy.”
Udall and Enzi recommended the livestock insurance program be funded by a “sliver” of the more than $13.1 billion in deficit-reducing savings included in the 2013 Farm Bill, according to a news release from Udall’s office.
Mike Saccone, Udall’s communications director, said the livestock insurance program would work the same as federal crop insurance for farmers and would protect ranchers from certain losses, such as death of livestock in excess of normal because of adverse weather, including floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold.
Ranchers already have benefited from the program once before, Saccone said. A livestock insurance program was included in the 2008 Farm Bill.
That program expired and was not included in January’s fiscal cliff Farm Bill extension, Saccone said.
During a intergovernmental meeting Tuesday in Craig, Wendy Reynolds, field manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office, said local ranchers holding grazing permits on federal lands in Moffat County have noticed a significant reduction in forage compared with last year.
“But our ranchers, for the most part, are really good at cutting back their herds on their own during times of drought so not to overtax the land,” Reynolds said.
And Saccone doesn’t think local ranchers will deviate from responsible practices simply because they know a safety net is in place.
“This provision just provides an added layer of protection,” Saccone said. “It will help ranchers recover from circumstances that are unavoidable, even with best practices in place.”
Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.