Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
8/2/2012--Passed House without amendment.
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced.
The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.) Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 - Directs the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to make FY2012 livestock indemnity payments from Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to eligible producers on farms that have incurred livestock death losses in excess of the normal mortality due to:
(1) attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators; or
(2) adverse weather, including losses due to hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat, and extreme cold.
Sets payment rates at 75% of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before death.
Directs the Secretary to provide FY2012 compensation from CCC funds for losses to eligible livestock producers due to grazing losses for covered livestock caused by drought or fire.
States that an eligible livestock producer may receive drought assistance only for grazing losses for covered livestock that occur on land that is:
(1) native or improved pasture land with permanent vegetative cover, or
(2) planted with a crop that specifically provides grazing for covered livestock.
Prohibits assistance for grazing losses on land used for haying or grazing under the conservation reserve program.
Sets the monthly drought payment rate at 60% of the lesser of:
(1) the producer's monthly feed cost for all owned or leased covered livestock, or
(2) the producer's monthly feed cost calculated by using the normal carrying capacity of the producer's eligible grazing land.
(Establishes a partial payment rate where a producer has disposed of covered livestock because of drought.) States that an eligible livestock producer may receive fire assistance only if:
(1) the grazing losses occur on federally-managed rangeland, and
(2) the producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on such rangeland due to a fire.
Sets the payment rate at 50% of the monthly feed cost for the total number of livestock covered by the producer's federal lease.
Directs the Secretary to provide FY2012 emergency relief from CCC funds to eligible producers of livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish to aid in the reduction of losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires.
Directs the Secretary to provide FY2012 assistance from CCC funds to:
(1) eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers that lost trees planted for commercial purposes due to a natural disaster, and
(2) eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers with a commercial production history that lost planted or existing trees due to a natural disaster.
(1) assistance to only those producers with a tree mortality rate in excess of 15%, and
(2) to 500 the total acres planted to trees or tree seedlings for which a person or legal entity may receive payments.
Caps tree assistance payments to a person or legal entity (excluding joint ventures or general partnerships) for any crop year at $100,000 or an equivalent value in tree seedlings.
(1) at 70% of replanting costs in excess of 15% percent mortality or, at the option of the Secretary, sufficient seedlings to reestablish a stand; and
(2) 50% of the cost of pruning, removal, and other costs incurred to salvage existing trees or, in the case of tree mortality, to prepare the land to replant trees in excess of 15% percent damage or mortality.
Caps the total amount of disaster assistance payments under this Act to a person or legal entity (excluding joint ventures or general partnerships, and excluding tree assistance payments) for any crop year at $100,000.
States that the provisions of this Act shall take effect as of October 1, 2011, and apply to losses that are incurred as the result of a disaster, adverse weather, or other environmental condition that occurs on or before September 30, 2012.
Reduces for FY2013:
(1) the number of additional acres to be enrolled in the conservation stewardship program, and
(2) funding for the environmental quality incentives program.
House Republican Conference Summary
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
This summary can be found at http://www.gop.gov/bill/112/2/hr6233.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, under a second winter of La Niña, drought conditions emerged midway through the 2012 water year, with low snowpacks melting out early during a very dry and warm spring. Spring and early summer runoff over most of the country was well below average, with flows similar to 2002 and other benchmark drought years. Continued dry and hot conditions in June dried out vegetation and led to very large and intense wildfires in all three states, along with widespread rangeland, pasture, and dryland crop losses. Today, the Midwest is in the grips of the worst drought in at least a quarter of a century. Nearly two-thirds of the nine-state Midwest region was in some stage of drought in the reporting week that ended July 10, up from just over 50 percent a week earlier, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly report on drought throughout the country compiled by U.S. climate experts.
H.R. 6233 would provide supplemental funding for agriculture disaster aid by retroactively reauthorizing expired disaster assistance programs for fiscal year 2012. The cost of the disaster assistance ($383 million) would be more than offset with reductions in spending for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs ($639 million in savings). The net effect of the spending and offsets would reduce spending over ten years by $256 million.
Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance:
The legislation would reauthorize expired emergency disaster programs for livestock ranchers, as well as fish, tree, honey bee and nursery plant producers for fiscal year 2012. The aid would be available for losses incurred from October 1, 2011, through 2012, as a result of disaster, adverse weather or other environmental conditions. Specifically, the bill would provide emergency disaster relief through the following programs:
- The Livestock Indemnity Program would provide $87 million disaster relief funding over ten years. The bill would authorize the USDA to use such sums as are necessary from the Commodity Credit Corporation to make livestock indemnity payments to eligible producers on farms that have incurred livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or by adverse weather.
- The Livestock Forage Program would provide $262 million in disaster relief funding over ten years. Under H.R. 6233, the USDA would use funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to compensate livestock owners for losses due to grazing losses resulting from drought or fire.
- The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Bees, Fish would provide $20 million in disaster relief funding over ten years. The USDA would be required to use funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide emergency relief to producers to aid in the reduction of losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions.
- The Tree Assistance Program would provide $16 million in disaster relief funding over ten years. The USDA would provide assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers who lost trees as a result of a natural disaster.
In order to offset the costs of extending disaster relief, the bill would make reductions to direct spending. Specifically, the bill would reduce funding for USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program by limiting the number of total acres covered under the program. This would reduce funding for the program by $289 million over ten years. The bill would also reduce funding for the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program by $350 million over ten years. According to CBO, the bill’s provisions would increase spending for disaster relief by $383 million and reduce spending for conservation programs by $639 million. The net result of the bill would reduce federal spending over the next ten years by $256 million.
According to CBO, “enacting this legislation would reduce direct spending by $256 million over the 2013-2022 period.”
House Democratic Caucus Summary
The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We’ll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.