Romney Joins Colleagues in Requesting Assistance for Livestock Producers Affected by Drought
“We respectfully request that FSA exercise its authority to further improve ELAP by providing payments to producers for a portion of the costs they have incurred from transporting their livestock to feed sources.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues, led by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Jon Tester (D-MT), in leading a bipartisan group of senators urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to address a gap in coverage under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). In September, USDA announced it would provide ELAP assistance for the cost of transporting feed to livestock, but producers who are transporting their livestock to feed are not eligible for the program.

“[W]e continue to hear from producers who have been severely affected by drought this year and have incurred costs related to transporting their livestock to feed sources instead of hauling feed to their livestock,” the senators wrote. “Under current regulations, these producers are not eligible for ELAP transportation assistance. We respectfully request that FSA exercise its authority to further improve ELAP by providing payments to producers for a portion of the costs they have incurred from transporting their livestock to feed sources.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Administrator Ducheneaux:

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) continues working to assist farmers and ranchers affected by this year’s widespread and devastating drought, we write to request that the agency address a gap in coverage under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).

As you know, ELAP plays a critical role in assisting producers who face losses due to adverse weather events like the severe drought across the country this year.  We appreciate USDA’s recent efforts to improve ELAP coverage by reimbursing producers for a portion of their feed transportation costs and by lowering the threshold for assistance for water transportation costs. 

While livestock producers welcomed these improvements to ELAP assistance, we continue to hear from producers who have been severely affected by drought this year and have incurred costs related to transporting their livestock to feed sources instead of hauling feed to their livestock.  Under current regulations, these producers are not eligible for ELAP transportation assistance.  We respectfully request that FSA exercise its authority to further improve ELAP by providing payments to producers for a portion of the costs they have incurred from transporting their livestock to feed sources.

It is critically important that USDA disaster programs appropriately respond to the challenges that farmers and ranchers face during difficult times.  Thank you for your efforts on behalf of U.S. agriculture and for your prompt consideration of this request.