Three Senators have introduced a bill to extend agriculture disaster assistance programs that expired at the end of 2011 fiscal year and were not part of the 2008 farm bill extension. 

Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who is also chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said they hope the legislation will be approved to provide funding for 2012 and 2013 while Congress works to pass a new long-term farm bill. 

The legislation introduced this week is meant to help the farmers and ranchers who have been left with no support while recovering from severe fires and drought that swept the country last year.

The livestock disaster programs that would be extended by the bill include the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP). 

The legislation would allow USDA to use “such sums as necessary” to make livestock indemnity payments to producers who have suffered losses due to adverse weather or losses due to attacks by animals reintroduced to the wild by the federal government.

The bill would also provide assistance for weather-related forage losses.

The Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) are also included in this bill, which would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to use “such sums as necessary” to provide assistance to orchardists and nursery tree growers who have faced natural disasters. 

Baucus and Stabenow have a history of working together on disaster programs, including creating the Livestock Disaster Assistance Program in the 2008 farm bill.

The language of this bill was included in the Senate-passed farm bill draft that was approved June 21, 2012, and Baucus also introduced it separately in 2012. 

For more information on USDA disaster programs, visit