HURON, SD (KELO AM) — South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke issued the following statement regarding Speaker Boehner appointing U.S. Representative Kristi Noem to the House conference committee tasked with negotiating a 2013 farm bill.“More than ever, South Dakotan’s are relying on our sole representative in Congress to finish the job and pass a five-year farm bill,” Sombke said. “After one of the most devastating blizzards in our state’s history, it is more imperative that a comprehensive five-year farm bill pass both the Senate and the House and make its way to the President for his signature. We are fortunate to have U.S. Representative Noem appointed to the conference committee.”Both versions of the farm bill that passed the Senate and House include the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). LIP is intended to assist producers in times of natural disaster. The Senate passed farm bill would pay eligible producers at a rate of 65 percent of market value, while the House passed farm bill would pay eligible producers at a rate of 75 percent. But Sombke said it’s not likely ranchers will receive any immediate assistance.“Even if the federal government was open it would take months to implement the Livestock Indemnity Program, assuming Congress can reach a compromise on the farm bill,” Sombke said. “Agriculture is in the dark in South Dakota and all over the United States. It’s not just our ranchers, but many of us have felt or will soon feel the brunt of all of this. It is only a matter of time.”Sombke said he appreciates Rep. Noem’s continual support for livestock disaster assistance.“Rep. Noem has championed a retroactive livestock indemnity program in the House of Representatives,” Sombke said. “This is one of the many programs that the farm bill provides for the protection of South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers.”The one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill expired on September 30, one day prior to the current government shutdown. The U.S. House failed to vote on the farm bill in 2012 and an extension was agreed upon as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal at the end of 2012. The House defeated the farm bill in 2013, and later split the farm bill into two separate bills, one that only included farm programs and the other containing the nutrition title. The House later rejoined the two separate bills. The Senate and House must reconciled the different versions before passage of a comprehensive five-year farm bill.“South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers need the tools to survive in times of economic challenges without the fear of losing their livelihood,” Sombke said. “The final version of the farm bill must include a retroactive Livestock Indemnity, fixed reference prices, a nutrition title, a strong conservation title with crop insurance tied to conservation compliance, mandatory funding for the energy title, and maintain the existing 1938 and 1949 permanent law.”
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