Thune, Heitkamp Lead Colleagues in Calling for Vilsack to Expedite Implementation of Livestock Disaster Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today led a number of their colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling on him to expedite implementation of the livestock disaster programs reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The senators write, "In 2012, U.S. grazing livestock producers experienced the most devastating loss of pasture, rangeland, and forage in decades due to the widespread drought... In October 2013, winter storm Atlas, an unexpected early fall blizzard, killed more than 20,000 cattle, sheep, horses and bison in the Dakotas and Nebraska, leaving many livestock producers with less than 50 percent of their livestock herds surviving...Due to the magnitude of pasture, forage, and livestock losses and the urgent need for financial assistance these losses have created, we strongly urge you to place implementation of 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster programs as a top priority."

Thune and Heitkamp were joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).