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Bill was introduced to help Texas ranchers recover from wildfires

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Representative Ronny Jackson (R-Texas-13) introduced the Senate and House versions of the Livestock Indemnity Program Enhancement Act to help Texas cattle ranchers recover from the devastating wildfires that have occurred in Texas . Panhandle earlier this year. This bill would require the USDA to establish an additional payment rate through the Livestock Indemnity Program for excessive losses of unborn livestock due to pregnancy losses. The recent wildfires in the Texas Panhandle caused losses of more than 7,000 cattle, not including unborn calves, and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of Texas farmers and ranchers.

“Texas farmers are the backbone of the Texas agricultural industry. After wildfires swept the Panhandle earlier this year, at least 7,000 cattle were killed. These fires devastated Texas ranchers, who are now struggling to rebuild,” said Senator Cruz. “I am proud to introduce legislation to strengthen the Livestock Indemnity Program. This will give Texas ranchers the relief they need to rebuild their herds and restore this mainstay of Texas agriculture.”

“Although the Livestock Indemnity Program will assist affected livestock producers with livestock losses due to the bushfires, their recovery has been delayed by several years due to limitations on the program’s ability to offset unborn livestock losses resulting from the loss of pregnant livestock,” said Rep. Jackson said: “By instituting a payment rate for unborn livestock losses, we can better support our producers, helping them recover faster and mitigating the long-term impacts of these wildfires. I am proud to lead this effort to strengthen the farm safety net for our livestock producers. Thank you, Senator Cruz, for working with me on this issue to ensure the Texas cattle industry can thrive for generations to come.”

“As Texas farmers and ranchers continue to work to recover from devastating wildfires, it is critical to provide as much assistance and flexibility as possible to help them get back on their feet,” said Russell Boening, president of Texas Farm Bureau. “We thank Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Ronny Jackson for introducing the Livestock Indemnity Program Enhancement Act to compensate ranchers who lost unborn calves due to the wildfires. Texas Farm Bureau appreciates leaders like Senator Cruz and Congressman Jackson who recognize challenges and move quickly on solutions to help our hardworking ranchers and women in times of need.”

“As a result of the recent devastating wildfires, many ranchers have suffered livestock losses, including the loss of unborn calves,” said Allison Rivera, executive director of government affairs at NCBA. “Current federal law fails to compensate producers for unborn calves, but this legislation would change that thanks to Senator Cruz and Representative Ronny Jackson’s bill to provide an additional payment rate for unborn calves as part of the Livestock Indemnity Program. America’s ranchers and women are grateful for Senator Cruz and Representative Jackson’s efforts to support the cattle industry.”

“The Livestock Indemnity Program is a useful tool for farmers recovering from natural disasters, but its effectiveness is limited by a gap in the program. The LIP fails to compensate farmers for the loss of their calf crops,” said Carl Ray Polk, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. “In the Texas Panhandle, the devastating effects of this divide are particularly striking in the wake of the recent wildfires. Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association thanks Senator Cruz and Congressman Jackson for addressing this gap in the LIP Enhancement Act. This legislation will help LIP better reflect the true losses ranchers face and shorten the time it takes to recover from devastating events like wildfires.”

You can find the full text of the bill here. This legislation is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, NCBA, TFB and TSCRA.