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Cap removed from Emergency Livestock Assistance Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The budget deal signed by President Donald Trump Friday, Feb. 9, removes the funding cap for the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to producers of livestock and honeybees for losses due to weather events and disease.

The program is currently capped at $20 million, but demand has been nearly $40 million and is expected to grow, according to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who introduced legislation to remove the ELAP funding cap in December.

"After touring the state and hearing from farmers and ranchers affected by drought, it's clear that federal disaster assistance programs aren't doing enough," Heitkamp said. "Now that this plan has become law, I'm hopeful that North Dakota's farmers and ranchers will soon have expanded access to ELAP during tough times."

In addition to removing the cap for ELAP, the budget deal also expands the Livestock Indemnity Program to cover losses incurred by selling livestock at a reduced priced. Currently, LIP only covers losses due to livestock death caused by adverse weather and other disasters.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., also helped secure funding for distressed farmers and ranchers.

"We've worked hard to provide relief to farmers and ranchers who have been challenged by severe drought and other natural disasters," said Hoeven. "The supplemental appropriations bill makes additional ELAP funding available to help producers cover costs, including for transporting livestock and hay. Additionally, it enables cattlemen who were forced to sell their livestock at a loss during the drought to receive Livestock Indemnity payments to help with their losses."