February 11, 2005

Craig and Crapo Support $3.1 billion in Farm Drought Aid

Extra farm assistance part of amendment to omnibus spending bill

Washington, DC - Farmers and ranchers in Idaho and other states may be able to file for more than $3 billion in federal drought assistance under an amendment approved today by the full U.S. Senate on a 59-35 vote. Senator Larry Craig, a member of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Agriculture Committee, both sought the additional assistance offered in the amendment offered by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)â??Drought has struck a significant economic blow to farmers and ranchers in Idaho and across the nation and this relief is way past due,â?? Senator Craig said. â??It was imperative we pass a bill that will provide assistance as quickly as possible and that would also be acceptable to the Administration. It is my hope that we have accomplished that task with the $3.1 billion this bill provides for the crop and livestock producers who are suffering the most. As a member of the Agricultural Appropriations Committee, I will ensure a bill is sent to the President as soon as possible.â?? â??The Senate has finally been able to pass agriculture disaster assistance that can get signed into law and will get aid to the producers who have been hurt by the drought,â?? said Senator Crapo. â??Idaho's farmers and ranchers, and their creditors, have been waiting for Congress to provide the needed assistance, and this targeted proposal does that without busting the budget or dipping into the farm bill.â??The amendment adopted by the Senate provides $3.1 billion in targeted assistance to producers who have been affected by weather related disasters. Notable items for Idaho include: $2.3 billion in assistance to commodity crop producers in supplemental fixed payments.$250 million for livestock producers under the Livestock Assistance Program.Extension of eligibility dates for the livestock compensation program.Waives the 25 percent reduction in CRP rental for grazing or haying on CRP lands.$250 million for surplus commodity purchases under the Section 32 program$100 million for grants by the USDA to specialty crop producers.$80 million for sugarbeet producers who have suffered weather related losses.The overall omnibus spending bill remains under debate by the full Senate. # # #